Museums are starting to give their cafeterias and cafes a second look as a large population of foodies under 40 are their new target market.
Recently highlighted in a Fast Company article, Museums Lure A New Generation Of Patrons Through Their Stomachs, “At many museums…revenue is down, and of those who are visiting, young people are poorly represented. Museum members are growing older, but there’s hope: Millennials love experiences. And they love food. According to research by Reach Advisors, which polled 7,500 culturally involved people in the Atlanta area back in 2011, the “Super Foodie” is the perfect demographic for museums to tap. They’re curious. They’re loyal. They love to cook and eat authentic foods. And they’re often under 40,” (Source).
So as attracting the millennial population as a new group of museum-goers, the purpose of museums becomes multi-sensory as visitors are now able to wet their palates, aligning their taste buds with the museum’s message, special exhibition, artist vision or gallery space.
“Food is fundamentally human,” says Elizabeth Merritt, director of the American Alliance of Museums’ Center for the Future of Museums. “And as soon as they dig into it, many museums find there are culinary ways to explore their mission.” In fact, food might be the ultimate gateway to experience design. It’s multisensory by nature, tantalizing our eyes, our ears, our noses, and our mouths with equal success. While most museum artifacts are protected behind ropes and glass, you can literally ingest history when it’s packaged as food,” (Source).
Revamping existing cafeterias is now a must as this trend continues. Creating an attraction strategy for potential museum members and visitors through comfortable lounge and cafe seating has so far, been an untapped strategy for this niche space.
“The most obvious way for food to make its way inside museums is not through the exhibits themselves, but to essentially bring the exhibit inside a museum’s existing cafeteria. For decades, the museum cafe has been an afterthought. While a necessity for visitors who need refreshment during a long day of museum-going, cafes don’t generate much revenue. So it’s only more recently that museum curators are scrutinizing their own cafes, curious if the food being served lines up with the message of the museum itself,” (Source).
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