More bars and restaurants are adopting trendy ideas from molecular gastronomy for beverages and bar foods. The market for Millennials becomes increasingly lucrative, but impressing young hipsters requires fresh tactics.

Molecular mixology and fusion cuisines raise mundane ingredients into fabulous culinary creations. The positive side for bar owners is that they can charge more for their artistic and sustainably sourced creations.

Attracting Millennials to Hospitality Venues

Attracting Millennials generates long-term repeat business, great referrals and the ability to charge more for drinks and signature bar foods. Bar owners or managers can appeal to customers from the ages of 21 to 34 who represent millions in annual sales for the hospitality industry.

  • Millennials stay connected on their smartphones and computing devices and often share information with friends, so reach them by developing a strong Internet and social media presence.
  • Using quality, locally sourced ingredients to appeal to Millennials and younger Baby Boomers.
  • Create beverages and bar foods with ethnic diversity, fusion techniques and molecular gastronomy to wow customers.
  • Consider the benefits of enabling mobile and online ordering to speed service.

Equipment for Gastronomy Creativity

Signature drinks, imported wines, layered beverages and nonalcoholic choices create alchemical magic for bar patrons and restaurant diners. Specialized equipment can transform simple ingredients like ice, alcohol and garnishes into extraordinary beverages.

  • Equipment for advanced mixology includes blowtorches, liquid nitrogen, candy makers, dehydrators, evaporators, sous vide machines, whippers, molds and confectioners.
  • Create unique effects by layering beverages by density, molding ice and whipped cream and using foams and jellies.
  • Find new ways to serve beverages and bar food by experimenting with equipment and different ingredients.
  • Choices include spheres that explode in the mouth, edible cocktails, infused flavors, cocktail pop-sickles and beverages that suspend solid ingredients.

Sourcing Ideas and Ingredients

Find ideas and sources of exotic ingredients online or through social media connections. Researchers at respected MIT are creating accessories like edible cocktail napkins, gelatin boats propelled by chemical reactions and flowers that bloom in beverages.

Thickeners and stabilizers thicken sauces, solidify salad dressings and beverages, and transform fruit and vegetables. Common ingredients for creating culinary and mixology artistry include:

  • Dry ice
  • Essences
  • Bicarbonate soda and vinegar
  • Sodium calcinate
  • Soy lecithin
  • Citric acid
  • Maltodextrin
  • Xanthum gum
  • Agar gelling agent

Chefs and mixologists often chafe under the restrictions of following unchanging recipes every day. Try buying a molecular gastronomy kit, and give the staff permission to play with food. The results could generate great new menu items, and the strategy keeps staff creative and engaged.

Staffing, Service and Strategy

Trends evolve, so staying connected with culinary and bar trends is essential. Enlist the bar’s staff to recommend specialty beverages, bar food and pairings of drinks and food to customers. Millennials embrace technology, so consider sending messages to patrons while they’re in the restaurant or bar.

Gastro pubs use upscale culinary techniques but offer a casual atmosphere and informal service. Bars and pubs don’t need to transform their menus radically to generate trendy appeal. Stock craft beers from local breweries, and create unique beverages with locally grown and ethically responsible ingredients.

Offer a new spin on traditional bar foods that make them healthier. Provide munchies that transcend typical bar snacks. Examples include:

  • Gourmet popcorn
  • Homemade potato chips
  • Flavored edamame
  • Spicy peanuts, pecans or cashews
  • Vegetarian sliders
  • Gluten-free snacks

Some bar owners and restaurateurs might deplore the changes they see happening in their neighborhoods. Working-class communities evolve into upscale artist enclaves and utilitarian businesses give way to coffee houses, art galleries and micro breweries. Embracing creativity at the bar allows established and new bar operations to make money doing what bars have always done—keeping customers happy and entertained.