It’s interesting sometimes to reflect on the major cultural trends that have completely passed you by – and when you get to be my age there are more and more of those every day. I read this and I realize: Wow, vaping is a Really Big Deal. Similarly, since I rarely watch anything except sports on TV, I am regularly semi-surprised, semi-bemused by how much emotional energy people invest in Westworld or The Handmaid’s Tale or whatever it happens to be.
But, as common as this missing-out experience is for me, it went to a whole new level the other day when I was listening to the second episode of the Dave Chang Show and learned just how radically Uber and Lyft have changed the restaurant business. There are, Chang and his interviewer Bill Simmons agree, two elements to this transformation:
- It doesn’t matter so much now where your restaurant is located. If you’ve created a place that has really great food, then people will find their way to you: they just have to be able to give the address to a ride-hailing service.
- People can now drink as much as they want. Simmons commented that for years when he went out with friends there was always a complicated negotiation about who was going to drive and therefore could not have more than a single drink – but those days are (for him) over. “The 40-year old drunk is back!”
There’s typically no reason for me to use Uber/Lyft – certainly not here in Waco (though visitors have told me that Uber/Lyft works just as well here as it does in New York or L.A.). And in big cities I usually combine public transportation and walking. I have ridden with friends who have called Uber/Lyft, but have never had either app on my phone. So I was kinda stunned to learn that there are whole industries that have been significantly altered by the ride-hailing revolution.
I may be old, but I can still learn!