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…


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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without some family drama.” –Male, 23, MA

The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line has found their anthem, and it’s a Millennial hit. The brand has famously helped home cooks with their turkey efforts for 30 years, allowing anyone to call to get their bird questions answered. This year, the Butterball Twitter account is filled with references to Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and its viral video. Sample parody lyrics: "'You always call me on my landline, from the kitchen when you need my help." #TalkLineBling #HotlineBling’” (Digiday)

Though Black Friday mania is still high, there is a burgeoning backlash to the day, and according to Ypulse’s holiday shopping survey, 68% of 13-33-year-olds support companies that close their retail locations that day. E-tailer Everlane did shut down their site for two Black Fridays in protest of the commerce chaos, but this year the site will instead donate all its Black Friday profits to its factory workers to create a wellness program that includes free groceries, English lessons, and health care. The brand hopes to raise $100,000 in their Black Friday Fund. (Racked)

Millennials are growing up, and for many that means they’re starting to host their own Thanksgiving dinners—and they aren’t necessarily following every tradition. A Yahoo Food survey found that 44% of 18-34-year-olds say they’ll be serving ham instead of the traditional turkey, 10% are adding a meatless entrée to their feast, and Millennials are twice as a likely not to serve cranberry sauce, but more likely to deep fry or smoke their turkeys. (Washington Post)

It’s a struggle for a brand that only gets attention once a year, and Stove Top is ready for a stuffing revolution to reverse their fate. The brand has introduced a new campaign starring an “Artisanal Hipster Pilgrim,” a Millennial character who is out to convince everyone to eat stuffing all the time with lines like “I’m sorry, I just thought you might like to enjoy delicious things all the time instead of one day a year. My mistake.” The effort includes four comedic online videos and a hipster pilgrim Instagram. (Adweek)

Since more are hosting their own turkey day gatherings, Millennials are also spending more on Thanksgiving, with an Allrecipe survey reporting that 42% plan to spend more this year than they did in 2014. Vice president of consumer and brand strategy at Allrecipes explains, “’(Millennials) are more likely to be buying more artisan, local-crafted products. They pride themselves on being tastemakers and trendsetters.’” Millennials are also more likely to have multiple Thanksgiving dinners to attend…perhaps including a Friendsgiving or two. (Time)

Quote of the Day: “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without my cousins' annoying kids running in front of the TV.” –Male, 30, MA

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