Meeting the needs of the Millennial diner

Meeting the needs of the Millennial diner

ArticlesPosted on 21st November 2012

Identifying the importance of the Millennial generation to the restaurant industry and how to make the most of it.

Meeting the needs of the Millennial diner

How well does your business meet the needs and expectations of the Millennial generation?

Today’s Millennial generation (18-34) are much more likely to frequent restaurants regularly than previous generations. Recent research carried out by Technomic has identified that 42% of Millennials are dining out in restaurants at least once a month, a considerably greater proportion than both Generation X and the Baby Boomers. It is not only that they are dining out more frequently; Millenials are also much savvier when it comes to what they want too. There is a greater lean towards menus with healthier options and a demand for greater variety of choice. Mintel recently identified that 40% of Millennial parents think portions sizes are often too large; a view shared by only 24% of the general restaurant-going public. The need to provide this customer base with healthier, more nutritional choices and diet-specific offerings such as gluten-free dishes is clearly as important as ever.

When it comes to attracting these customers, they have much greater reliance on digital media when making their choice of restaurant. A SymphonyIRI study has shown they are 3 times more likely than the general population to be swayed by mobile advertising and 4 times more influenced by smart phone apps. It is not just the inclusion of mobile marketing strategies that restaurateurs need to consider when attracting this market. Findings from Bazaarvoice research earlier this year showed that over 80% of Millennials believe in using user-generated content to influence their choices. The feedback from popular review sites, blogs and social networks is deemed as the most relevant and authentic sources of information by a generation that has grown up heavily exposed and somewhat sceptical of advertising. Businesses will need to embrace the power of social media and use it to their advantage if they are to truly connect and attract this feedback-orientated age group.

Once attracted to a restaurant, it may be no surprise that price and discounts are key factors in the final decision making of the Millennials. Over 40% have stated they are influenced by the availability of vouchers and discounts when it comes to choosing a restaurant. Meal deals are also deemed an influential factor, supporting a desire to receive better value. Although discounting can cause additional issues for businesses, restaurant owners need to ensure their pricing strategies and promotions are enticing and competitive enough to draw in this valuable segment and develop long term loyalty and repeat business.

The Millennium may be a distant memory for most, but the Millennial generation is most definitely a customer group not to forget.

By James Ellerby

References
Bazaarvoice (2012) White Paper: Generation Y in the aisles: How consumer goods brands capture lifelong loyalty.
Marketing Charts (2012) Millennials’ CPG Brand Choices Swayed by Promotions, New Media. http://www.marketingcharts.com/direct/millennials-cpg-brand-choices-influenced-by-promotions-new-media-22573/ Last accessed 19/11/12
SymphonyIRI (2012) Millennial Shoppers: Tapping into the Next Growth Segment. http://www.symphonyiri.com/portals/0/articlePdfs/T_T%20June%202012%20Presentation.pdf Last accessed 19/11/12
Technomic (2012) The Generational Consumer Trend Report.
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