Have you taken any of the online quizzes that ask how millennial you are? I have, and according to the quizzes, I'm a high percentage millennial, even though I'm definitely a member of Generation X. According to Restaurant News, there’s even more reason to think I have a millennial mind in a Gen X body because I want the same things millennials want in a restaurant — for the most part.

Depending on which source you look at, millennials are those born somewhere between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. They are about to overtake the Baby Boomers in numbers, and they're also about to come into their peak spending years. They are "poised to reshape the economy," says a recent Goldman Sachs report. Restaurants like Modmarket and the healthy fast-food chain LYFE want millennials' money, and they're designing menus and spaces to attract them. 

So what is it that millennials want in a restaurant?

  • Communal and movable tables. They want to be able to sit together in large groups at long tables or move tables together according to their social needs.
  • Food transparency with open kitchens. Millennials want to know calorie counts, nutritional information, and where food comes from. And, they want to be able to see into the kitchens to make sure they’re getting what they're being told they're getting.
  • Sustainability with recycled and sustainable materials. From furniture to lighting to walls, millennials want the restaurants they patronize to be environmentally responsible.
  • Quirky but functional décor. The décor needs to be youthful and “photogenic.” Millennials are taking and sharing photos, so they want the setting to look good too.
  • Ample electrical outlets and USB ports. Because everyone’s phone is running low on battery by the time meal time arrives, millennials want to plug in and recharge.
Except for the quirky but functional décor, I’m looking for all of these things in restaurants too. I want a restaurant to be comfortable and accommodating so my entire group can socialize. I definitely want to know about the food (although I don’t necessarily need to see the kitchen). Sustainability is important to me. And, while I’d love to be able to say that electrical outlets and USB ports aren’t a factor, I can’t. (Based on the anxiety I felt recently when I was noticed that only empty space left next to an outlet at a Starbucks would be taken before my drink was made, I know this issue matters to me too.)

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

How millennials are influencing restaurant design
From adding communal tables to USB ports, restaurants are doing what it takes to get millennials in the door.