The new generation of customers, popularly called Millennials expecting much more from dining. This blog post will give you some useful restaurant marketing ideas how to attract them, how to provide attractive entertainment for them and how to give them possibility of their own self expression while they eating in your restaurant. They will love it!
Let’s talk about your target market, their behavior and their needs, let’s talk about millennials and restaurant marketing ideas!
They were born between 1980 and 1995 and in the United States there are 80 million of them and they are absolutely potential users of your services. People love to call them Millennials or Generation Y.
Millennials represent 64 % of the total population and 60 % of them at least once a week go out to lunch or dinner in the restaurant. Their specific way of living, the environment and the requirements are quite different in many ways from the previous generation X. Your task is to adapt to their needs and draw them into your restaurant or bar. How to do that?
Millennials Favorite Restaurants
During the last five years according to the information Dr. Elizabeth Sloan, columnist for Food Technology Magazine, visitors in this age group decreased up to 6 % in restaurants across America. Unemployment of young people who are increasingly present in the country and the world certainly has an impact on these facts but the main reason lies in a slightly different habits and needs of Generation Y when it comes to going out to restaurant.
Members of Generation Y unlike Generation X, although they have less time for dining, they pay much more attention on what they eat and where they eat. There are several reasons for this:
- Lack of money causes that people carefully choose where to spend it.
- High competition on the market.
- Availability of information and advertisement about various restaurant offers.
Information about health and food safety is increasingly affecting on individual awareness about what is good and healthy to eat and what is not. Your goal is to survive in the market and it is necessary to fit in the new criteria and adapt your restaurant promotion ideas to the needs and habits of your potential customers.
Below is the list of Millennials traits, habits and behaviors that are reflecting on their restaurant choices. Source of this important information is the study “Understanding Millennials ” realized by the United States Potato Board. These are important facts:
- Millennials prefer to eat four small meals at an unusual time.
- Usually they go out to restaurants for a lunch.
- 55 % prefer community tables in restaurants where are sitting different groups of guests.
- 68 % will search for information from their friends before choosing a restaurant.
- 87% will order nice and expensive meal, even when they have lack of money.
- 40 % would order something else from the menu every time when they visit a restaurant.
- Prefer fresh – less processed foods.
- 80 % want to know more about how the food is grown.
- They view food as entertainment and self-expression.
Following the above, we can conclude that generation Y is educated about the health safety and food production. This puts in front of you, as a caterer new challenge to make your offer interesting, to follow new trends and make â€‹â€‹your restaurant perfect place for these guests.
Hot Food and Drinks on Your Menu
Millennials prefer to call themselves ” foodies ” – people who show great interest in what they eat and drink and love to explore new dishes and drinks. But what they actually the most commonly searching and ordering from the restaurant menu? It may be interesting to note that 44 % of them consume fast food 1-4 times a week!
But even them are looking for new dishes and drinks on the menu. What they want?
- Combinations of traditional dishes with a non- traditional side dishes and sauces.
- Different types of salads with even greater variety of salad dressings and sauces .
- Dishes prepared exclusively from raw fruits and vegetables with known origin and growing methods.
- Meals made from chicken are still very popular.
- Homemade juices, liqueurs and cocktails from fresh fruits and vegetables are also very popular.
Organic food, healthy food, free-range chickens, hormones -free meat, from farm to table food. Arm yourself with these and similar epithets when describing the dishes on the menu. Millennials love it !
Size Matters! Offer small, medium and large portions. In this way, guests have the opportunity to taste different dishes and combine their meals as desired, and that is exactly what characterizes generation Y, innovation, experimentation and creation of different and unique harmony of flavors.
Encourage them to express themselves in your restaurant! Let them take a photos of their plates and share pictures on Facebook, Pinterest and in other social media. This will certainly be reflected in their popularity but your restaurant popularity too.
Tips : Organize a contest and name it ” The most popular guest”. The task is to combine the best / most beautiful dish from the menu, shoot a photo and share it on Facebook . Who gain the higher number of likes – gets a free dinner!
Unlike Baby Boomers and Generation X, Millennials are not so devoted to popular brands, they want to try different things. This attitude and investigative spirit is certainly opening opportunity for creative caterers as well as less-known restaurants.
Millennials and Restaurant Marketing Ideas
Millennials are constantly looking for new information and thrills, new restaurants and interesting dishes that are on offer. This is an opportunity for you too, to promote your restaurant and offer meals in a simple and affordable way:
- Focus on Generation Y and offer new exciting innovative dishes, or a new way of preparing and eating meals and drinks in your restaurant.
- Promote new offer in collaboration with popular chefs, made â€‹â€‹a demonstration of cooking for your guests in restaurant.
- Make an interview with your guests and use social media networks to share experiences of users of your services.
- Pay attention to packaging.
- Organize interesting events in your restaurant like exhibitions of local artist.
- Find your way to make dining in your restaurant become social experience and opportunity for exploration.
- Entertainment on demand!
In addition it is necessary to provide a constant online presence. Your restaurant webpage should be optimized for smart phones. The fact is that 32% of the total number of guests and members of Generation Y check restaurant menus on their mobile devices. (source)
Drive Crowd in Your Restaurant – Provide More Than Food
Enjoyment and comfort. Statistic says that after good quality of food at reasonable prices, what guests assessed as very important aspect when choosing a restaurant is certainly the atmosphere in the restaurant, how comfort they feel in your restaurant and do they enjoy the ambience. What makes perfect ambiance for Millennials?
Millennials would rather choose large community tables where they can sit with more guests. This is certainly a reflection of today’s antisocial lifestyle and going to a restaurant becomes a social event. Restaurant design, unusual, but still simple will attract them into your building while comfortable chairs or sofas will surely keep them for a longer in your restaurant and the crowd will be guaranteed. Did I forget to say – Millennials love crowd. Where is a crowd, there is a lot of fun!
Treat your staff with respect. The manner how you treat your staff is very important because it says a lot about you and your service. It seems that this is one of the essential things that Millennials highly recognized and price when choosing a restaurant for a date. If you treat your staff with respect you will insure comfortable environment, and it is expected that you will be even more polite with your guests. These facts say a lot about the way how you and your staff generally operate in your restaurant.
Technological innovations are blooming at the market almost every day, and like it or not, we are all more and more dependent on them in everyday life. Even 67% Millennials have request for free Wi-Fi in restaurants and bars. The use of technological devices such as tablets instead of menus, ordering and payment with mobile phones and even different games on tablets in the restaurant becomes a very powerful tool for attracting restaurant guests. One of these technological entertainment and its impact on business is shown in this promotional video. In this way, going to a restaurant or bar becomes a social event that gives to guests the possibility to meet new friends, socialize and have a lot of fun.
If you use insights and advices from this article I hope that you will be able to adapt your business to market demands. Sometimes, a little imagination is quite enough, but many times it takes a much more than that.
What you need to do for sure, is to stay up to date! Even 44 % Millennials considered to have even higher requirements when it comes to dining out in the next 5 years! Do you have some new ideas to attract them in your restaurant?
Good luck dear caterers! Love, Aida!