What’s the first thing you do or think about when you wake up in the morning? I always check my phone.

I’m your typical phone-addicted, Instagram-obsessed millennial. I live and die by what’s at the top of my feed. And I’ve built my career around it, all the while wondering if the platform will die. After all, my entire social network once lived on something called MySpace. 

When I asked our cover girl, Sarah Grueneberg, this question, her first answer was that she tries not to check her phone. Good for her, I thought. While Chef G is doing a mental checklist of her day ahead, I’m wasting no time before that first scroll through the `gram. 

All this is to say I’m directing your attention to Instagram, and the reason is twofold. Instagram is major platform for us, not only because we are in media, but also because we’re in food. And with that I mean the collective we—not just us at FSR, but also all of you.

I’ve been engaging with chefs, operators, and brand ambassadors on Instagram since I got here (find us @FSRmagazine and please follow along!). One thing I’ve noticed is that these folks are passionate about their work. And this, my friends, is the future.

One of the biggest keys to a successful restaurant of the future is a heavy dedication to digital. I read this recently in a Deloitte report, but it wasn’t news to me. An email I received a few days later from The NPD Group with the headline “Restaurant Visits Paid by Mobile App Increase 50%” was only the payday. It was eerie, though. This futuristic restaurant I was reading about sounded nearly identical to something I used to regularly write about—the electric utility of the future.

Before I landed at FSR this year, and before I spent a year going full-food in Los Angeles in 2017, I’d been managing a national trade magazine for electric utilities. Back in those days, we talked a lot about the future of our industry, and we read a lot of Deloitte reports (as those folks inside the Beltway do). But the thing is, the insights for future-proofing both industries are quite the same.

I’ve given electric utilities these same tips: Engage your customers on different digital platforms through the same, unified brand voice. Give them reasons to trust you and choose you—in your marketing, your accessibility through apps and online, and your business decisions. I wonder where this ranks on the things you think about when you wake up in the morning. 

As we head into one of the most future-focused events of the year, I invite you to think bigger about the restaurant of the future. I also invite you to seek me out at the NRA Show (look for the FSR booth, #5415, or email us at NRAShow@FSRmagazine.com to set up a meeting) and have a chat about what’s top of mind for you, so that we, in turn, can get more of what you’re thinking about onto the pages (and social media accounts) of FSR.

Expert Takes, Feature