When you think of restaurant chains that appeal to millennials, David Chang’s noodle empire Momofuku or Danny Meyer’s burger temple, Shake Shack, come to mind. But thanks to a bold redesign, a menu revamp, and a shout-out from Beyoncé herself, Red Lobster is now the eatery of choice for people ages 18–24, according to a survey by Nation’s Restaurant News.
The seafood chain—an American dining staple for almost five decades—underwent a major makeover after being taken private in 2014. By adding modern design flourishes like communal tables and of-the-moment menu items like lobster tacos and wood-grilled fish, Red Lobster began attracting a younger clientele.
According to Red Lobster CEO Kim Lopdrup, Red Lobster was satisfied with the space it was in and had no intention of targeting millennials. "We've just been focusing on making improvements overall," he told Business Insider.
Lopdrup points to additions like the aforementioned communal tables as one of the reasons millennials have been flocking to a restaurant chain that has historically been associated with family gatherings.
"Millennials are very social," Lopdrup added. "They like to share experiences with friends and they like to dine in groups, and Red Lobster is well set up to handle large parties."
Then, of course, there’s the Beyoncé effect, which can’t be discounted when looking at Red Lobster’s sudden rise in popularity. After the pop star shouted out the restaurant on her smash single "Formation," sales at the restaurant jumped 33%.
"This has been a remarkable week—we never expected to be such a hot topic of conversation," Lopdrup told Bloomberg at the time. "We were delighted to learn that Beyoncé and her fans loved Red Lobster so much."
Note to struggling restaurants: Get that Beyoncé stamp of approval.
Learn how to cook the perfect lobster with a copy of Rick Stein's Fish & Shellfish, and let us know if you plan on checking out the revamped Red Lobster.