It’s time for restaurants to attract millennial diners before it’s too late. With 83.1 million individuals, Millennials, those born between 1982 and 2000 have surpassed baby-boomers and are now the largest consumer group representing over 25 percent of the U.S. population, according to the latest figurers from the U.S. Census Bureau. This forward-thinking, socially responsible consumer group also spends the most money eating out, nearly $3,000 per year, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service Food Expenditures report.
The fast-food industry was quick to notice the generational shift and have since modernized most of their restaurants and developed a more innovative menu with creative choices to attract millennials. Other restaurants will need to adapt for a sustainable future or risk a shrinking crowd. But in order to attract this young, trendy group of influential diners, restaurants will need a few basic ingredients. Since affordability is important, keeping foods costs low is ideal.
Innovative menu choices
A creative chef with an awe-inspiring, yet affordable menu is a perfect match for the millennial audience. Millennials like creative signature dishes with innovative flavor, texture and ingredient combinations that taste great. This is one group that is not afraid to sample new tastes. And ingredient options that allow them to customize their dish is icing on the cake. Keep tabs on your restaurant POS reports to keep food costs under control and understand which dishes are a hit in your restaurant.
Emphasis on fresh, quality ingredients
Millennials are not only environmentally aware, but they are health-oriented too. Fresh locally sourced ingredients with responsible, sustainable practices are preferred and should be highlighted on the menu where applicable. Including a short story about a local farm or other anecdotal information about the source of ingredients is appealing to this group.
Millennials are among the most socially connected group and often hang out with their friends on social media. And they are not shy about posting a review or sharing their experience online. In fact, millennials are more likely to reach out to a restaurant on social media than by phone or e-mail. So set up and monitor your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts and respond quickly to address any problems or inquiries. Use your social audience to solicit feedback as well as announce new events, specials and menu items.
Millennials prefer creative restaurant designs and plating that are visually appealing to the eye with different colors, styles and textures. Think Instagram. You know you hit a home-run when a snapshot of your visually attractive restaurant, beverage or dish is posted on a patron’s Instagram account and is shared with their circle of friends.