According to this article, we are changing the way we eat out. Because of our economic experiences over the last boom and bust cycle, apparently we want to have our cake and eat it too (almost literally). Instead of really cheap or really fancy, we want a discount establishment that has been gussied up. Think newly remodeled Red Lobster with an upgraded menu. Kind of like Target (Targey) instead of Walmart or Neiman Marcus. We want to feel like we are getting a good deal (because of the economic bust), but we also want to feel like we are treating ourselves well (left over from the previous boom).
Why is this relevant to us? Well, first of all, Darden (owner of Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, etc) is more likely to hire human factors practitioners than Joe's Diner or Bouchon de Paris. On the other hand, the only way that these places can offer fancier meals at discount prices after a huge capital expenditure on remodeling is with some great design, effective processes, strong decision making, etc, etc. Right in our wheelhouse.