The 2021 Restaurant Scoop with Sam Oches

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Sam Oches, the Editorial Director at Food News Media, talks with Zack Oates about the future of the restaurant industry.

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Sam Oches is a musician-turned-foodie who is currently the Editorial Director at Food News Media, the company behind the QSR and FSR magazines. As one of the top people to follow in the food and beverage industry and the host of QSR’s Fast Forward podcast, he brought so much value to the episode. 

He and Zack talk about what will go and what will stick next year post-COVID-19. Here’s a few brief takeaways: 

1. Things Will Pick Up In 2021

Sam brought up that economists are predicting an economic boom next year that restaurants will be a part of due to the improvements forced on them by COVID-19. As he said, “The way that so many restaurants have pivoted and grown and adapted in these last 8 or 9 months has just completely set them up for success.” 

2. Large Menus and Footprints Are On The Way Out

With the right digital tools and resources, you don’t need as many menu items and square footage to compete as you used to. It’s all about efficiency now. 

3. Virtualization and Sanitization Will Stay

Consumers have adjusted to curbside-pickup and delivery, so don’t expect it to leave once the corona virus does. It’s the same with keeping your restaurant clean and safe – now having your mop and bucket in the corner is a good look and not a tacky one. 

4. The Future Is Going Small

As remote work increases, people will leave cities and cling to smaller communities. As a restaurateur this provides you with an opportunity to play the role of the neighborhood diner or corner pub in your town. 

5. Take Big Swings Right Now

If you’re not experimenting and switching things up you’re missing out. This pandemic is full of unknowns for everyone, so customers will be pretty forgiving of whatever you try. Go for it! 


Thanks for reading! Make sure to check out the whole podcast, as well as other interviews with restaurant/business gurus by checking out “Give an Ovation” on, or your favorite place to listen to podcasts. 

For more from Sam, listen to the Fast Forward Podcast, subscribe to QSR Magazine, or find him on social media. Thanks Sam!

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