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Robots, Ants and Biometrics are the Future of Dining, Says RFDC Speaker


Alternative proteins take center plate at Black Ant in New York City, today's speaker the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference showed.

The future of fine dining is here and it features—wait for it—bugs, worms and ants, according to Daniel Del Olmo, founding partner of The Passionality Group, speaking at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference today. 

If you don’t believe it, consider Black Ant in New York City, with Chef Mario Hernandez serving up artfully arranged insects like those shown in the photo nearby. “There are about 2 billion people around the world who already consume about 1,900 species of insects as a form of protein,” Del Olmo said, and the industry will grow from $1 billion in sales today to $8 billion by 2030.

More restaurant trends from around the world, according to Del Olmo: 

Reducing food waste is a key initiative in Los Angeles, he said, with 30 to 40 percent of food going uneaten. “Reducing food waste is one of the most important things we can do to reduce global warming,” he said. At Providence in L.A., Bar Manager Kim Stodel takes leftover lemons, for example, and turns them into an infusion for rum-based cocktails.

In London, “it’s not only McDonald’s getting ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” with the use of artificial intelligence and robotics. Tech company HoloLamp, for example offers an interface that allows customers to view menu items in 3D, “which means no surprises,” he said.

And from Tokyo, “we believe hyper-personalization will become commonplace in the future,” he said. Based on DNA samples, each person can match their personal nutrition needs with the food on their plate—but in the example he showed, an unappetizing cube of food was the result of all the AI, perhaps making the audience wonder if insects might be the way to go after all.

The Restauarnt Finance & Development Conference continues through tomorrow at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.


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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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