SXSW Interactive 2016
The Hipsterfication of Chain Restaurants
Chain restaurants have an indelible hold on the American psyche. Restaurants like McDonald's to Subway might seem to be inextricably woven into the fabric of our nation's culinary identity, but a crop of fresh quick-service chain restaurants from high-end, independent-minded restaurateurs like Danny Meyer (Shake Shack) and David Chang (Fuku) seems hellbent on redefining and elevating the humble chain restaurant. What does it mean when indie, hip food culture becomes mass? Will people a generation from now look back on a Shackburger with the same nostalgic affection we have now for Happy Meals? And, is the new crop of chain restaurants really actually doing anything all that new?
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Additional Supporting Materials
- What's the appeal to a fine-dining restaurateur — business but also creative — of launching a chain restaurant brand?
- Can the new crop of chain restaurants solve some of the problems created or exacerbated by the established ones? How?
- What should a smart diner think about when they visit a chain restaurant?
Helen Rosner, Features Editor, Eater