The technologically-savvy and sophisticated younger generation poses a new marketing challenge for restaurant owners trying to keep up with the times.
Restaurant owners are faced with the constant challenge of adjusting their menu, design and marketing strategies to bring new demographic groups in as patrons and to stay ahead of ever-evolving trends. Recognizing and attempting to characterize new demographic groups is the first step in attracting them as customers.
The latest generation which is now coming into its own and establishing itself as a market force to be reckoned with as its buying power increases is the so-called Millennial Generation.
The youngest members of this generation are still in high school, while its more senior members have just entered their 30s.
While it is impossible to generalize and expect that such a large group of people will have common characteristics, there are some indicators that restaurant owners can use to target the Millennial Generation. The following are a few tips for restaurateurs on how to get Millennials into their establishments.
1) Feature more diverse ingredients from world cuisine
As a whole, Millennials are more educated about and aware of a greater diversity of foods than previous generations. With the advent of the Internet, the world has become a much smaller place for Millennials. They grew up with more exposure to different cultures and an increased desire to try a variety of world cuisines. To target Millennials, restaurateurs should consider incorporating into their menus different flavors and exotic spices. As a group used to constant stimulation, the same old fare just won’t cut it.
2) Offer healthy, organic and environmentally-friendly choices
A multitude of information on human health and food’s effect on it are available to Millennials at their fingertips, as opposed to previous generations. They will splurge on decadent and unhealthy food occasionally, but on a daily basis they are looking for food that is as healthy as it is delicious. Special health food menus and healthier side dish options can go a long way in winning them over. This is also a generation that grew up accustomed to markets with organic produce. Offering organic, vegetarian and vegan fare is almost a necessity in today’s marketplace. The Millennium Generation is also the most environmentally-conscious generation that has yet come along. They grew up in an environment where things such as recycling and energy conservation were not new and novel things, but rather they were the norm. A note on your menu about the steps you are taking to be more eco-friendly will certainly gain you points in the eyes of most Millennials.
3) Provide a comfortable and technologically convenient environment
What sets the Millennial Generation apart from previous demographic groups more so than any other factor is their use of computer technology from a very young age. Laptop computers and now cellular telephones that function as computers ensure Millennials that they never have to be disconnected from the grid. A restaurateur that provides a comfortable environment in which to go online will find favor with Millennials. Providing plenty of outlets and even chargers, as well as free wireless Internet is a must in today’s environment. Layout and furniture also play a key role in making a restaurant tech-friendly. Restaurant booths and secluded tables that are not placed too closely together can provide the requisite privacy to use laptops and talk on cellphones without bothering other patrons.
4) Advertising your restaurant online and on social media
In order to reach Millennials, restaurant owners must embrace new media such as Facebook. When told by word of mouth about a restaurant or even passing by a new restaurant on the street, the first step that a Millennial will take is to search for the restaurant’s Facebook page. If a restaurant is not on Facebook, it may as well not exist for Millennials. This is a generation that does its research before making decisions, and choosing which restaurant to go to is no different. If a restaurant has an entry in the Yellow Pages with its name, address and telephone number and a second restaurant has a Facebook page with its full menu displayed and pictures featuring the venue and menu items, there’s no question which place a Millennial will choose. Using traditional advertising methods to reach this generation is a waste of money. Group coupon sites and Internet sales promotions offer new marketing tools that will prove much more effective in reaching the Millennial Generation.