5 Ways for Restaurants to Win Over Millennials
You’ve heard it before. Millennials are a gold mine, sought after by every business person alike. You’ve been told you need to cater ads, decor, and menus to them. That your marketing needs to consider them, and your brand needs to reflect their preferences. Clichés are clichés for a reason: they’re usually true. Numbering at around 75-80 million, the Millennial generation has a tremendous amount of buying power, and they’re looking to exercise it.
Do you have to fundamentally transform your strategy to attract young guests? Certainly not. But there are some adjustments you can make to push your restaurant over the edge and into the hearts of Millennial consumers. Here are a few tips on how to win the Millennial generation’s loyalty…
1. Let Guests Get Weird with Their Food.
How do you cater to a group of consumers who are constantly on the prowl for novelty? Rather than overhaul your core brand in pursuit of the elusive young diner (an ill-advised maneuver), offering customizable dishes can be a palatable solution.
According to a Technomic survey, Millennials customize a whopping 44% of their orders. By offering even just the possibility of unique flavor profiles, you can let Millennials design new dishes for themselves without repelling the customer who would prefer an old favorite.
2. Join Forces with the "Netflix Effect"
With the advent of Netflix came the rise of binge-watching. While spending hours and hours on the couch, absorbing seasons of shows at a time, a person requires certain lifestyle accommodations: namely, takeout and delivery.
According to the National Restaurant Association, as concerns limited service dining, “8 in 10 millennials (ages 18-34) said they likely would use delivery, compared with 60 percent of all adults.” With the “Netflix effect” at full force, an hour spent eating out could be put to better use finishing the last season of House of Cards. In that moment, as hunger pangs compete with premium TV addiction, who would you rather the Netflixer call — you, or your neighbor?
3. Proudly Display Nutritional Information
Millennials care about eating fresh and healthy food more than any previous generation. In fact, according to a Technomic Survey, 40% of Millennials and Generation Z check nutritional information on menus prior to ordering. The decision to make this kind of information highly visible demonstrates to consumers that they have values in common with your brand. Health and nutrition become less a talking point and more a shared concern.
When a consumer feels aligned with your brand in this way, they’re far more likely to return. Millennials want to eat healthy, local food, and they are willing to pay more — again and again — to get it.
4. "Make Friends" Online
A staggering 69% of Millennials take a picture or video of their food before eating it (Maru/Matchbox). As the desire to document every aspect of our lives becomes harder and harder to resist, the opportunity to win guest loyalty actually gets bigger. Socialize in the right way, and “making friends” will benefit your bottom line.
Repost your guests’ photos (after asking for permission), they’ll likely be happy to have the spotlight, you’ll benefit from free marketing, and they’ll be more likely to visit again. So why not go mingle with your target demographic where they already like to hang out?
5. Surrender to the Robots
Your resistance is futile. Just kidding. Executing on the 4 tips above is, of course, made easier with technology.
Not only that, but Millennials have been shown to prefer technology to interacting with cashiers. Business Insider reports that “nearly a third of people 18 to 24 prefer ordering from the drive-thru at restaurants because ‘they don’t feel like dealing with people.'” At a fundamental, even emotional level, completing transactions with technology is far easier than completing them with people.
Infusing the guest experience with technology does not negate the value of human interaction, however. In fact, interactions between staff and guests become even more valuable once tasks like ordering are automated. Self-order technology introduces efficiencies into repeated, transactional processes. Once the obligatory transaction is complete, the door is open for the kind of unforced interactions that are an emotional boost to Millennials (and people of every age), rather than a drain.