Five years in, Skift is ready to take on a new challenge. But we aren’t about to do this on an empty stomach.
— Jason Clampet
This time last year Skift revealed that we had brought the restaurant industry newsletter Chefs+Tech into our fold.
For this nearly one-year anniversary we’re ready to announce its next step as the renamed Skift Table.
With Skift Table, we will dig deep into the business of the modern restaurant industry through news and analysis and driven by a robust newsletter and social media presence.
We pulled the wrapper off the brand this Friday morning, not to bury the news but to get ready for a robust first week that will feature in-depth reporting and interviews on the state of the reservations industry (subscribe now not to miss out). We will also bring you insight through exclusive on-stage interviews with industry pioneers Danny Meyer of Union Square Hospitality Group and René Redzepi of noma at next week’s Skift Global Forum. And on Wednesday, before this launch, we brought you the first story about Resy and Airbnb.
As longtime readers of Chefs+Tech know, the newsletter was founded, written, and run by journalist Kristen Hawley, who had built a following of readers curious about the innovation and creativity powering the contemporary restaurant industry.
Along with Skift founder and CEO Rafat Ali, I felt an instant connection with Hawley’s voice as well as how she approached her subject: not as a foodie or a fan or a cheerleader or someone eager to write to please her vendors or advertisers. She looked at the challenges the industry faced and offered a layer of insight and explanation that instantly reminded us of how we approach the travel industry.
Plus, it was newsletter first, and we love newsletters.
In the year since bringing Hawley in and taking over Chefs+Tech we’ve focused on building the subscriber list, increasing frequency, and adding more original reporting. We’ve spent a great deal of time speaking with people in the industry about both what we’ve done at Skift and what they’re looking for in order to do their jobs better. It is still Hawley’s voice that is driving the newsletter for each Monday and Wednesday edition.
We’ve also dug deeper into the crowded B2B restaurant media field and are impressed with what it has to offer (especially compared to the dreadful state of travel B2B media when we launched Skift in 2012). Still, we’re confident there’s a big, wide-open space for Skift Table, in the same way there was a big space for Skift to step into.
There is a natural fit for us in restaurants, too, because we’ve seen how integral food is to the tourism industry, especially when it comes to destinations defining themselves and in spreading the wealth of tourism dollars beyond just a few key players. You’ve probably seen this in our coverage of general food and drink developments, as well as our Research Report on food tourism strategies and ongoing reporting on food tourism in markets around the world.
As we’ve always done at Skift, we view the world through the eyes of consumers like you and me, not the vendors and the businesses. Despite our office perches in New York City and San Francisco, we know that the restaurant industry thrives in cities and regions of all sizes. Often it’s the smaller markets leading the way.
The best way to approach news targeted at any industry is not to tell them what they want to hear, but to better communicate what is happening with their customers right now.
What a point of sale (POS) system means to someone trying to buy drinks for friends takes priority on how it may (or may not) help avoid shrinkage. We’ll show the upsides and downsides of a customer relationship management (CRM) system that enables an excellent visit for a couple out for their anniversary versus one that exists just to push the upsell.
We will bring you stories from independents who innovate as well as chains that solve a problem in a novel way. While we may use the word “millennial” more than any of us want to see, we will focus on the mindsets of all demographics rather than random generalities about who’s killing which chain and what apps you need to pander to this week. And like the general public, we know the difference between fast food and fast casual doesn’t really matter beyond the menu prices.
We’re not a review site, we don’t worry about gossip, and we’re not going to go ga ga over some press release out of Silicon Valley. The trends we feature won’t be driven by the anticipation of slideshow pageview clicks, they’ll be based on research and reporting by expert staff and contributors who are as knowledgeable as the Skift writers you’ve come to depend on throughout our history.
Put simply, Skift Table will provide news, insights, and reporting on the modern restaurant and the business of dining out. We’d be grateful if you’d join us.