Restaurateurs finding unique ways to lure in millennials

Restaurateurs finding unique ways to lure in millennials

BOSTON — Millennials are shaking up the restaurant industry.

Restaurant owners and top chefs across the country are now facing a new challenge of coming up with unique strategies to lure in millennials who are slowly opting against traditional sit-down dining.

"We're not going to spend our loan money to go and eat out at nice places," said Kate Coker.

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Celebrity chefs around the world gathered in Las Vegas to attend an event highlighting the diverse food scene, but they also tackled an issue plaguing top chefs here in Boston.

"I just think that people's habits are evolving and I think as restaurateurs, we have to really be focused on the guest experience to make sure we're attracting diners into our spaces because it's so easy to stay home," said Chef Chris Coombs.

Coombs owns four restaurants in Boston including Boston Chops in Downtown Crossing and he knows how to draw in younger consumers.

"Yeah, definitely Snapchat it or put it on Instagram."

In a push to attract millennial clientele, Coombs installed thousands of dollars worth of lighting equipment in a booth now known as the Instagram Table where you can snap the best shots of your tasty food.

"There's been quite a bit of demand for it and it's not something that we charge for, it's just something that's really fun to capture your food and have a nice night out with friends that's social," said Coombs.

Restaurateurs are also up against another challenge, a hefty minimum wage increase that will bring the state's hourly minimum wage to $15 by 2020 and experts think that will mean smaller margins for restaurants.

And dining out in the city isn't cheap.

The price of a dinner for two with drinks at Stoddard's Fine Food and Ale could cost $70 and just down the block, a meal for two at Legal Crossing brings you to $84, on average.

Restaurant owners say with such razor thin margins, they say sometimes price hikes are inevitable.