Millennials are known to give a lot of importance to their food and dining experience. They expect flexibility, transparency, and control over every aspect of their lifestyle. With high spending power and extensive exposure to global trends, they are driving the growth curve of the restaurant industry. Thus, cultivating a personal connection with this demographic is in the best interest of the restaurants
As a restaurant owner, if you are not taking the time to understand the lifestyle inclinations of this trendsetting generation, and make them work in your favor, your restaurant will not get much mileage to survive the competition.
In 2019, there are 1.8 billion millennials in the world and 92 million in the U.S alone. The generation— now in their early 20s to mid-30s, is the largest in US history and as they reach their prime working and spending years, they are predicted to have a buying power of $1 trillion by 2020.
“To put this into perspective, by 2020, 1 in 3 online purchases will be made by this group of prime members.”
Successful restaurants create a value system people want to be associated with. They study a significant number of common insights on this massive segment of the population and execute strategies accordingly. The brand that first discovers the key to unlock the magic bullet behind this group wins.
So what are some real Millennial trends that can help restaurants move past the myriad generalizations and create a millennium-friendly eco-system?
They trust the recommendations from their friends, family, and social groups: When it comes to food and dining, millennials are highly influenced by recommendations from their family and friends. Moreover, 80% of internet users have agreed that enticing images of food on their social feed and online reviews on review sites such as Yelp, Google and Facebook have had a strong influence on their decision. According to a recent report by Hootsuite, 65 percent of social media conversations are about what and where to eat out.
They seek out unique experience and presentation: For this “showboating” generation, food is a way to explore different cultures and cuisines; evoking an experience that they can post on social media. They value adventure and individuality. For instance, millennials want to know where their food is coming from and how the food they eat is harvested. They are looking for stories behind each preparation. By understanding this aspect in detail, you can begin to cater your offerings to suit their taste.
They use mobile devices to order food and make reservations: The mobile technology continues to change the way we eat. Millennials use smartphones when researching restaurants, browsing menus, making reservations or simply going through the reviews posted by other people. It’s all digital. To boil it down, if there’s something that can be done with a mobile device, then that’s how they prefer to do it. Thus, restaurants need to be able to engage them with mobile-friendly engagement solutions.
They want to feel connected: Millennials believe in developing meaningful connections. They don't mind advertisements, but they really want to know that the brand truly cares about their health and hygiene. Such preferences have spawned concepts like farm to table, veganism, organic and so on. Restaurants must be transparent about their ingredients and product claims. Such restaurants usually find themselves in the good books of consumers and enjoy loyalty.
They spend more on food and lifestyle than other age groups: According to a CBRE report on consumer predictions, Millenials are going to the biggest spenders at restaurants in the next 10 years. Compared to other generations, Millenials spend about 17.1% of their salaries on food. In addition to this, they care about quality and experience and don’t mind paying additional to get the experience they want.
They like a steady flow of content: Millennials are instantly attracted to great content with a vast majority of your customers wanting new and exciting content posted regularly. With this in mind, you can begin to plan your social media schedule to have a constant flow of engaging content such as behind the scenes videos of your kitchen, introducing your kitchen staff through blog posts, and even Q & A sessions.
They are looking for fresh and nutritious food: Did you know 30% of Millennial Americans eat foods that are certified as organic foods? Restaurants that offer healthy food options have a better chance at surviving in today’s eco-system compared to the ones that only focus on serving fast food items. For instance, it has been observed that by introducing low-fat dishes made from organic ingredients can increase the average order value by 20%. Along with this, mentioning nutritional information under each dish will build trust, eventually leading to increased customer loyalty.
So what can you do to make them stick? Here are three main components of a sustainable restaurant business to keep in mind as you shape your marketing tactics, communications and strategies to gain the attention of this lucrative generation.
Millennials love technology. In a recent study by Deloitte, it has been concluded that 78 percent of millennials prefer to use self-service technology, thus earning the epithet "digital socialites”. By incorporating new restaurant technology into the workflow can improve turnaround time, increase customer engagement, and give people more control over their experience.
There are many ways to achieve this for your restaurant. For starters, Online ordering and mobile apps have become mainstream for this “mobile-first” generation. Therefore, partnering with an online ordering and delivery software provider is a great way to increase your restaurant’s discoverability. Millennials are much more likely to place an order with your restaurant if they can do it from an app. Simple changes like offering digital menu, mobile payments, scheduled delivery, and personalized offers tend to make a big difference in creating a millennial-friendly ecosystem.
Meet them where they are. When it comes to Millenials, social media has become a nearly ubiquitous part of their digital life. Having a Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and Twitter account for your restaurant is now mandatory. Millennials devour visual communications. That said, a well-shot picture posted on social media channels is enough to convince them to place an order with your brand. Remember, when your customers enjoy a specially curated journey, they build deeper connections with your brand that later lead to gaining their loyalty.
Restaurants should focus on creating a customer experience that facilitates social sharing. Give your customers plenty of reasons - from delicious food to exemplary service to spread the word about your brand.
Make them stick with Loyalty Programs. Not just any loyalty program, but the one that delivers genuine rewards and convenience. According to a recent article in Forbes, 86% of Millennials join loyalty programs. Your restaurant can partner with digital loyalty programs to make the experience a much easier one.
It’s important to note that this generation has its own way of doing things and if you want to connect with them and keep them engaged, then your brand should pursue the most authentic path possible with a combination of technology, social engagement, community building, and content.
Now that you’ve got a good recipe to attract and attain millennials’ attention, it’s time to take action.