There’s been a lot of talk about today’s consumers—especially millennials—looking for more than just good food when they eat out. Dining is not just about eating to millennials; it’s about providing hospitality and a social experience, and one they can’t find at every restaurant on the block. Here are three restaurants playing to the want for something different to win millennial customers.
Kitchen-sink dessert plate
Some stereotypes about millennial eating habits that are true: We love to share—especially since dining out is part of the social experience—and we love to sample. Ampersand Wine Bar in Chicago crafted a dessert menu that caters to those wants. In addition to some more traditional offerings like lemon butter cake and chocolate pate, the menu lists a shareable “platter of cookies, candies & chocolates.” It’s got smaller versions of the main desserts, plus cookies, truffles, jelly candies and more—an ideal way to get a sampling of what’s on offer and more.
Open-kitchen cheese bar
The fourth location of Chicago’s popular wine and cheese shop, Pastoral, is its biggest yet at 3,800 square feet. While some of the previous shops have had sandwich counters or a wine bar, this location is the first with a full restaurant inside. What’s winning: In addition to the good-size wine bar, there’s a separate “cheese bar” for overflow. It’s got the most open-kitchen feel in the place—it butts up to the cheese-and-charcuterie station—and there’s a window to peer into the full kitchen. There’s waiter service there, too, so it’s the full restaurant experience with a bit of show as well.
Funky toast toppings—for free
Brunch has become a big social destination for millennials. And there’s no denying that toasts have become a trend. So why not play to both of those hotspots? Toast comes with a lot of the brunch meals at Hell’s Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis. But instead of putting the prepackaged single-serve jams and butter on the table, Hell’s Kitchen brings out a holder with three glass jars: one fruit jam and two housemade peanut butters—one more traditional, one banana peanut butter (which it also jars in-house). And to make a little extra revenue, servers ask if there are any retail items they can add onto your check. If they didn’t get you then, there’s a stack of jars of the housemade peanut butters that diners have to pass on the way out the door.