The January/February 2019 issue of rd+d marks the beginning of the seventh year of existence for this still-young publication. It is impressive to see how the restaurant industry that we cover has grown and evolved over those seven years. We felt when we started that no one else was really focusing on this specific niche, geared as it is toward the professionals charged with creating the restaurant spaces where we eat, drink, laugh and commune.

We always felt that we would have lots of material to work with and endless topics to explore in the pages of rd+d. What has surprised us is the added significance that these spaces have taken on as other traditional public meeting spaces have diminished. The online shopping numbers from this past Christmas are still being tallied, but the results will no doubt continue to shake the foundations of the brick-and-mortar retail shopping. While our digital social lives continue to flourish through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and the like, our opportunities for live social interactions seem to be dropping proportionally.

If our little village of 60,000 people on the outskirts of Chicago is any indication, if you want to talk to a live person outside of your own home, condo, or apartment, you will likely have to meet them at either a bar/restaurant or a gym/yoga studio. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, and it probably isn’t representative of the whole country, but you get the drift. As Steve Starr, FCSI member and founder of Starrdesign, so eloquently shared with our audience at the Foodservice Equipment & Deisgn Global Thought Leadership Summit in Chicago last fall, restaurants have always been central to our sense of community.

I think he may be more correct about that now than ever before.

I look forward to seeing many of you in Orlando, Fla., for The NAFEM Show on February 7-9, 2019. If you are not able to attend, our team plans to be there in force in order to tell you all about it.