Restaurants need to focus on appealing to millennials in order to tap into this lucrative, trend-setting demographic. This blog discusses the importance of the millennial demographic on the restaurant industry and how restaurants can appeal to millennials, gain customers, and remain relevant.
Why Restaurants Need to Appeal to Millennials:
- Millennials have cut back annual restaurant visits by 21% over the last seven years.[i]
- Millennials constitute 25% of the US population.[ii]
- Millennials will spend more than $200 billion annually starting in 2017 and $10 trillion in their lifetimes, a significant portion of which will naturally be on foods and beverages.[iii]
- Millennials set trends in the food and beverage industry and carry significant influence over their peers, as well as generations before and after them
How Restaurant Can Appeal to Millennials:
- Provide millennials with a social experience by offering communal seating, tapas style dining to encourage sharing, a themed night, or another experience that encourages socialization.
- Offer global flavors, unique food combinations, and customization options to appeal to millennials’ quest for adventure and personal expression.
- Provide them with a brand story to show authenticity and transparency; millennials want to know where their food is coming from.
- Offer new items periodically to keep interest up; millennials love to try new things and will quickly get bored with a restaurant if there isn’t the option to try something new.
How to Advertise Your Restaurant to Millennials:
- Hire millennials to gain insight into the demographic in order to create authentic campaigns that resonate with millennials.
- Use social influencers to spread the word about your restaurant.
- Encourage co-creation by having diners upload pictures of themselves onto social media accounts for the chance to win prizes.
- Drive traffic to your restaurant by passing out coupons on college campuses.
- Encourage feedback from diners and listen to what they like and don’t like.
- Keep your campaign fun, entertaining, and relevant.
How Restaurants Can Appeal to Millennials Example
Buca di Beppo created a campaign designed to appeal to college students—a lucrative subset of millennials. Buca’s goal was to raise awareness among students, student groups, fraternities and sororities, and other campus organizations to increase patronage and encourage students to use Buca for student functions and events. Buca made college students feel special by offering an exclusive college student discount.
Buca di Beppo took its current family-style dining concept and used it to appeal to millennials’ desire for a social dining experience. At Buca’s, college students could share a meal with friends. Buca partnered with NAM Youth Marketing to gain access to highly-connected student brand influencers. These student brand ambassadors raised awareness on campus by making classroom announcements, talking to student groups in person and on social networking sites, and by distributing media in high-traffic locations.
This resulted in increased patronage, increased scheduled student events, and increased sales. Millennials are shaping the food industry as we know it.
To learn more about how restaurants can appeal to millennials and college students, contact NAM Youth Marketing today and speak with a millennial marketing specialist.
[i] McGrath, Maggie. “How Millennials Will Dictate the Future of Fast Food.” Forbes.
[ii] Angrisani, Carol. “Reinventing Soup for Millennials.” Supermarket News.
[iii] “Asking Y.” Prepared Foods Network.