In February, The Washington Post posted an article that explained how millennials were influencing the way our country eats. The positive change in food trends over the last decade is helping determine what grocery stores stock and what restaurants serve. This generation wants their food:
- Transparent as to ingredients and sources
- Customized (not just the same old burger)
- Convenient (think meal kits, food trucks, delivery services, etc.)
- Natural, local, organic, and sustainable
- Healthy for babies, as well as varied and high-quality
- Snackable (grazing-ready)
- Ethnic, vegetarian, new, and interesting
Millennials have their likes and dislikes, and now that they are having babies (more than 80 percent of millennials are expected to become parents in the next ten years), restaurants need to sit up and take notice. Having children, says Technomic Vice President of Innovation Sara Monnette, means a decrease in discretionary income and limitations on time. So, it’s likely millennial parents will switch over to even more”convenience-oriented” food suppliers.
Monnette goes on to say that this increase in kids and parents could affect the restaurant industry in significant ways. The exact manners in which these changes will impact eating establishments is yet to be seen. But, most industry experts agree that millennial parenthood will increase the number of orders for pre-made food delivered directly to the home.
Technomic foresees limited-service concepts’ sales growing by 5.1 percent. The company expects full-service concepts’ sales growing by 3.2 percent. Patricia Cobe of Restaurant Business believes that: “The potential growth in millennial parents could be a boom for chains such as McAllister’s and Chik-fil-A.”
On the other hand, Boomers read food labels to determine information about calories, fat grams, and sugar content. Baby Boomers also care more about how food tastes than whether it is convenient or not. Every generation has a take on food as it relates to their lifestyles, so a restaurant’s ability to remain flexible may be the key to maintaining its clientele.
Every stage of every generation has brought changes. Restaurants do not have the luxury of resting on their laurels. Innovation, up-to-date knowledge, openness, and creativity will save the day. Everything changes – that’s the name of the game.