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Driving Traffic With Millennials

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MARCH 9, 2015


Author: McCain Foods USA

Making great dishes isn't easy. But getting guests in the door can be even more challenging. Now with the upsurge in fast casual dining and more potential customers preferring to eat at home, how do you attract new customers to the table?1 Asking the question "who are my new customers?" is a great start.

There is one elusive, untapped market for sit down restaurants that merits some serious attention: Millennials. Right now, they make up 32% of the adult population, and that percentage is growing.2 A report by the NPD Group found they spend over $95 million in foodservice.3 Not only are they voting with dollars, they are voting with "likes." They are some of the heaviest users of social media, and they actively share what they like—or don't like—about the restaurants they visit.

So what do Millennials look for when dining out? With the wide range of choices available come increasingly particular demands: exciting but natural; premium quality but affordable; fast but healthy.2 This lends itself to the growing order-at-the-counter of dining. There are some effective ways to get Millennials out of the "eat and go" groove.

To get them to sit down and stay a while, you have to offer an experience they can't get elsewhere. Technomic found some defining factors that get Millennials to restaurants:

A Few Quality Options

Some options are great, too many options overwhelm. By using a few fantastic items in different ways throughout your menu and giving patrons the power to customize, you're making guests feel like individuals without needing seven freezers.

Craveability & Uniqueness

By including menu items with more indulgent or extravagant flavors like this Bacon-Glazed Fries recipe and memorable items guests haven't seen before, like Moules Beer Frites, you can capture adventure-seekers' attention. You'll also stand a better chance of being Tweeted about.

Adult Beverage

Though young, most Millennials are of age. When it comes to atmosphere, they're looking for a good place to socialize with a good bar scene.3 Stocking craft ales and mixing signature drinks sets you apart from fast and easy competitors. Pairing pub bites with drinks is a major plus. Check out unique pairing ideas that can double your earning potential.

Real World Food

There's a piece of the authenticity trend that is beginning to stand out: Authentic Ethnic Eats. While it may seem like you must have an ethnic restaurant to serve ethnic food that guests consider "authentic," that is not the case. In fact, 47% of consumers reported ordering ethnic cuisine regardless of location—at an ethnic restaurant or a location with more standard fare.5 Keeping in mind that authenticity is about transparency and putting your best words forward on your menu, even fusions and unique combinations like Moroccan Onion Scoops are fair game.

By appealing to the ever-growing Millennial population, you stand a greater chance of getting them at a table, menu in hand. Get more Brew City®culinary inspiration and promotional ideas to support your own innovations.