How Restaurants Can Cater To Gen Y

Dining OutMillennials may be the most social generation, but due to the difficult economy, they’re dining out less. According to the NPD Group, 18-34-year-olds are eating at restaurants about once a week less than young people did in 2007, which has left many restaurants worried about how to target young consumers. However, several companies have accepted this challenge and are adopting approaches to meet Millennials’ tastes, as well as the current food trends. Take a look at their strategies below and our insights on how restaurants can reach Gen Y.

Make Dining A Social Activity

Several months ago, Applebee’s announced that it will expand its nightlife and entertainment offerings in an effort to reach Millennials. The family-friendly chain will transform into “Club Applebee’s” after 10pm with half-priced drinks, dance music, karaoke, “Girls Night Out” events, and more lasting until 2am. By making the dining experience a fun event that they’d want to attend with their friends, restaurants can capture Millennials’ attention.

Moreover, Darden Restaurants, which owns chains including Olive Garden and Red Lobster, recently announced that it’s focusing on a next generation of restaurants including Capital Grille, Seasons 52, and Yard House. These restaurants offer a wide selection of drinks, live music, and unique flavors to appeal to young adults.

Additionally, by making the setting of a restaurant more social with lounges for example, and offering more dishes that can be shared, eateries can place emphasis on the social experience, which young people crave.

Tell Your Brand’s Story

In general, Millennials care about companies with a clear message and ones that they can form an emotional connection with. This is especially the case with restaurants since consumers of all ages want to…

 
 

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: "My favorite place to shop online is Sephora, because I love high end makeup and I love reading about what's new and watching tutorials on how it works.” –Female, 26, MA

We’ve seen everyone from food startups to fast-food chains label their food “artisanal” to appeal to Millennials—and there is good reason. It turns out there is generation gap when it comes to consumers’ reaction to “artisanal” and “craft.”  Millennials are more likely than older consumers to say that the labels “handmade/handcrafted, “craft,” and “small batch” tell them a product is high quality, and also more likely to say that descriptors like “artisan/artisanal” have some influence on their purchases. (MediaPost)

To sell wine to Millennials, brands have had to drop the exclusivity and embrace a more unpretentious attitude. Sparkling wine brand Chandon is relying on Instagram to get their bubbly message across to young females, making it their top social platform, over Pinterest. Their colorful, summertime images, featuring captions like “Today calls for Rosé,” are a part of their effort to get sparkling wine “out of the holiday rut.” (Digiday)

Older generations who hear about anonymous apps like Whisper and YikYak why have one main question: why? Question and answer site Ask.fm’s recent study asked them, and found that 40% of 13-18-year-olds said anonymity online allows them to talk about difficult topics—only 4% said they would talk about the same things if their name was being used. (IBT)

New parents will do just about anything to get their kid(s) to go to sleep, as one self-published book is proving. The picture book The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep made the Amazon bestseller list by claiming to put children straight to sleep. Sales skyrocketed quickly, going from selling just 324 copies on August 16th, to 29,000 at the end of last week. It’s rumored that Random House has bought the rights to the miracle book. (Publisher’s Weekly)

Restoration Hardware is going after the teens “who ha[ve] everything.” Their new high-end post-childhood line RH Teen includes chandeliers, and fine art photography, and the brand hopes to capture young consumers as they are finding their own identity and becoming independent as decorators of their space. Unlike some brands, who are co-creating their products and marketing with young consumers, Restoration chose to launch RH Teen without focus groups or studies. (WSJ)

According to Pew, a third of Millennials frequently use their phones in public for “no particular reason,” and 13% say they frequently use their mobile devices to avoid interacting with other people. (Queue the “anti-social Millennial” pieces.) But another study might shed some more light on their “for no reason” phone use: 60% believe their smartphones enhances their leisure time. The research hypothesizes that young consumers are using phones for moments of “micro-leisure” throughout the day. (Washington PostSocialTimes)

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies