How Chain Restaurants Can Attract Young Diners

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Millennials have long been blamed for the demise of casual dining, so we asked them to divulge what would entice them to eat at a chain restaurant...

Chain restaurants and casual dining establishments have long topped the “Millennials are killing” list, and this year looks to be no different. And while it’s true that the Applebee’s and Buffalo Wild Wings of the world have been struggling to reel back in young diners, that might not be the whole story. A recent report from Harris Poll found that Millennials rank restaurant chains higher than older generations do, citing convenience and budget as the top reasons they love these classic options. Darden Restaurant Inc.’s CEO recently announced both their Olive Garden and Cheddar’s chains over-index with Millennials, saying the demo makes up 30% of all their guests—6% more than the overall population, and a study from Rewards Network also found that full-service restaurants saw a 3.5% bump in revenue last year over 2016. Ypulse’s own data found that over half of young adults sometimes or often go to chain restaurants.

So why is the prevailing message that casual dining is dying at the hands of these finicky Millennials? For one, as the CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings said last year, "Millennial consumers are more attracted than their elders to cooking at home, ordering delivery from restaurants, and eating quickly, in fast-casual or quick-serve restaurants.” Ypulse data backs all this up, with the addition that the demo also loves their homegrown establishments—local restaurants routinely top young consumers’ favorite restaurants list. Additionally, over two-thirds of young consumers have frequented a fast casual restaurant in the past month, the same amount say they order takeout or delivery one to three times per week, and a slight majority…

 
 

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