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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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “I actively avoid discussions of TV shows.”—Male, 31, MI

Networks are launching an onslaught of new streaming services to compete with the likes of Netflix and Hulu. CBS, Disney, and now Warner Media are hopping on the bandwagon to compete for young cord-cutters' viewing time. The digital switch makes sense, considering 74% of 13-36-year-olds told Ypulse they watch Netflix weekly, versus 33% who watch cable weekly. But one eMarketer analyst predicts this over-saturation in the streaming wars will lead to “a shakeout," in which companies will be weeded out unless they consolidate their offerings. (THR)

Macy’s is putting virtual reality in 90 stores, with the “largest VR rollout in retail history.” Shoppers can don HTC Vive VR headsets to create 3D floor plans, design their living spaces, deck them out with Macy’s furniture, and then take a step inside of the room. The retail tech enables smaller Macy’s stores to offer a lot more inventory to shoppers, and follows in the footsteps of other reality-bending home décor brands. And, according to Macy’s, VR sales were 60% higher than regular sales in their three pilot stores. (MediaPost)

Prada is plotting a comeback among young consumers. They’ve been slow to adapt to digital, but now the luxury company is emphasizing Instagram and aiming to grow their online sales, which were just 5% in early 2018. While investors applaud Prada’s dive into digital, they also believe the brand needs to shutter several stores—not just to increase “profitability” but to create “the illusion of scarcity.” Prada also has to recover from being late to the luxury streetwear game. (Bloomberg)

Some teens are opting for technical school over four-year universities. At Queens Tech, high schoolers are trained to take on non-desk jobs, like being an electrical engineer or working for public transit companies. Earning a high paycheck that isn’t chipped away by student debt is helping to overcome the societal stigma of skipping college. According to one Queens Tech student, “If you’re a construction worker, you may get paid the same as a doctor, but you don’t look as good.” (Vice)

Don't expect to see macho men and swooning women in grooming brands' latest ads. Instead, companies across the industry are toning down the machismo for Millennial & Gen Z males. Some are blurring gender lines, like Dollar Shave Club, whose “Get Ready” spots debunked stereotypes by not just casting straight, cis males. Other brands are betting modern men are more in touch with their emotions, like Gillette, who shared the touching story of a man’s son becoming an NFL linebacker, despite missing one hand.
(Ad Age)

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