Trust me, I watched the cupcakes. I watched them sprout, I watched them spread, I know the guys who mix Cupcake Wars.
We left Seattle in 2009 and came back in 2015. I definitely see the injuries. However, some trends aren't sticky - the fact that the Pacific Northwest has always been competent at making $12 burgers means the burger trend missed Puget Sound entirely (Red Robin is effectively an inoculation against Umami Burger). The fuckin' proliferation of IPA? gawd, I'd skip that if I could. Primarily I think it's a "we're trendy but we can't afford floor space so we'll make the fact that our floor plan is punishing a feature not a bug."
Here's the thing: if you don't have staff, and you need to fuck up your floor plan to pay your rent, you are one sensitive establishment when it comes time for the economic downturn. Up here in Mallville where it was all chain restaurants? It's still dead. Nobody moved into the Chevy's. Nobody moved into the Alfie's. The Hooter's has been six successive restaurants and is now a barely-surviving Grocery Outlet. I don't think they're all gonna shuffle out in another recession but I think you'll definitely see the value-added businesses survive better.
But more than that, I think there's been a structural change. If you're trendy at all, you now accept that you'll pay more for good service but you won't pay moremore for good food and good service and given the choice, you'll pay for food. Not only that, but in the land of $15 minimum wage every server is an essential server.
My favorite burger joint is run by a city councilman. One of his servers is his wife. Another one is his daughter. Another is his sister-in-law. Another is his daughter-in-law. They're all making $15 an hour and it works but I don't think they'll expand their staff beyond their genepool. And at this point? 40% of their business is Uber Eats, which charges them 40% of their take. Their kitchen is plenty busy and they have enough staff.