Mini meals have hit the mainstream as more restaurant chains cater to snackers, samplers and sharers with tapas and tasting menus.
Earlier this year, Applebee's launched a Take Two promotion, allowing diners to mix and match smaller portions of signature entrees, such as blackened sirloin, garlic rosemary chicken pasta and lemon shrimp fettuccine. The menu targeted millennials, who are likely to have "food envy" while dining out with friends, according to the company.
Darden Restaurants' Italian casual dining chain recently rolled out its Tastes of Italy menu, which features small portions of grilled chicken spiedini, parmesan roasted asparagus, fried pizza dough and crispy risotto bites.
Outback Steakhouse earlier this year debuted a limited-time Steak Flights menu, offering a combination of pared-down portions of steak options with various sauces. The menu was designed to "allow guests to explore flavors on one plate without feeling locked in," according to the company. Also launched for a limited-time was a dessert flight, featuring mix-and-match cake pop flavors.
Ruby Tuesday allows customers to mix and match its Minis, slider-style cheeseburgers, turkey burgers and buffalo chicken sandwiches.
For dessert, Seasons 52 offers Mini Indulgences, a presentation of shot-size glasses containing little layered cakes and mousses, providing an opportunity for customers to sample several at a time. Varieties include key lime pie, carrot cake, rocky road, chocolate peanut butter mouse, mocha macchiato and pecan pie.
Earlier this year, TGI Friday's unveiled a Taste and Share menu, featuring ahi tuna crisps, chicken or black angus sirloin hibachi skewers, Thai pork tacos, bacon macaroni and cheese bites, corned beef and Swiss cheese sliders, garlic and basil bruschetta and parmesan meatballs.
The Small Plates and Snacks menu at The Cheesecake Factory includes several handheld dippable items, such as mini corn dogs, chicken samosas, pretzel-crusted chicken and crispy crab bites, alongside salad and flatbread options.
The Snacks menu at Darden Restaurants' grill and bar includes pint-sized portions of truffle or sweet potato fries, edamame, hummus, chips and guacamole, shrimp ceviche and a variety of street-style tacos and flatbreads.