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: "I want to be able to have, and provide for, a family in the next 3-4 years.” –Male, 20, NC

The gambling industry is (still) trying to figure out Millennials. While young travellers do seem to like Vegas, they’re not interested in playing slots, and more of their money and attention is going to technically non-gambling activities like fantasy sports. Some casinos are trying out skill-based machines that feel more like video games. According to the CEO of the Global Gaming Association “It's going to be a lot about throwing things up on the wall and seeing what sticks." (CNBC)

Digital natives have naturally integrated tech into their relationships, and teens are using texting and online flirting as a way of “dipping a toe in the ocean of romantic possibility.” But at the same time, in-person interactions remain important: 50% have flirted by friending someone on social media, while 55% have flirted by talking to their romantic interest in person. (The Atlantic)

Evidence that food is the new status symbol continues to mount. New research from Good Food magazine found that 16-24-year-olds in the UK spend more on food than any other age group, with much of that splurging spent on takeout. These young consumers are also spending more on brunch and other restaurant visits than older diners. (Vice Munchies)

Television has traditionally been relatively isolating, especially as an influx of content has made it less likely that everyone is watching the same show at the same time and time shifting has threatened the water cooler moment. But social media is making TV a communal experience again, as actors, writers, and the audience react to episodes in real time together. Social media activity is also an indication of a show’s popularity: Twitter and Nielsen have found that there is a connection between tweet volume and the size of the viewing audience. (NYTimes)

Exercise might seriously improve the mental health of bullied teens. A study from the University of Vermont found a 23% decrease in suicidal thoughts and attempts among bullied students who exercised four or more days a week. While the study doesn’t necessarily prove that exercise reduces sadness and suicidal tendencies, it is “an important first step” in connecting the two. (Common Health)

Quote of the Day: “I don't have kids, so my financial goal is to save the money I need to take the trips I want to take.” –Female, 25, FL

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