It’s no secret that millennials have been blamed for the supposed death of casual dining. But can an entire generation really be responsible for the downfall of an industry staple? And what happens as millennials age? Hold onto your avocado toast, because the research might surprise you.
The tendency to view millennials as a stagnant generation of perpetual 20-somethings is like trying to predict where the hippies and flower children of the 60’s would eventually fall as mature consumers. Factors such as income, familial status, and time management greatly impact whether or not casual dining is the preferred option. A cash strapped college student may opt for instant noodles over a night out, or a single 32-year-old might prefer cooking at home. But are these preferences indicative of the future? Not exactly. In fact, studies have found that millenniels become more like their parents as they age. The appeal of casual dining increases with age. Families with multiple children especially find the option to be affordable and convenient, whereas a younger family with only one child may be less swayed to eat out. Mature individuals also have a more flexible budget that allows for the occasional dinner night. With this increased wage comes a busier schedule, making the option of take-out or sit down dining more appealing still.
A Changing Demographic
As generations shift, so too must marketing tactics. Millennials aren’t falling for the same old ads that worked on their parents. Engaging the next generation of families is key to reviving the casual dining scene. Gone are the days when wholesome, romanticized version of middle class families drew consumers into establishments. Restaurants are better off appealing to the snarky humor millennials have trademarked. Applebee’s has already taken advantage of social media humor with their Dollarita, one dollar margarita, special. Advertising does not need to fall into cynicism to capture the attention of aging millennials. Where the allure of fine dining attracted previous generations, a dose of humor, convenience, and ambiance is more likely to please this generation of casual diners.
Looking for more ways to engage and stay relevant? Explore The World’s Top Restaurant Websites.