How to Attract Millennials to Your Restaurant

By Emily Caldwell

To maintain or establish any profitable business, you must be aware of your changing environments and always be focused on expanding your customer base. The current generation, called Millennials, is the largest and most influential generation since the Baby Boomers. As Millennials make up 25% of the current population,* an active restaurateur should market and adapt their business to attract these new customers to their foodservice operation.

With $245 trillion dollars in spending power,* Millennials are stronger and more important than ever. “‘Millennials spend 44% of their food dollars – about $2,921 dollars annually – on eating out,’ according to the Food Institute’s analysis of the United States Department of Agriculture’s food expenditure data from 2014.”* Per month, Millennials spend $174 dollars on dining out in contrast to non-millennials that spend $153 dollars per month.* To captivate the interest of this growing market segment, your restaurant needs to find alternatives to engage and retain these new customers. However, it is important to find a balance that both attracts and builds loyalty with Millennials without hindering relationships with non-millennial diners. Millennials have new preferences that have redefined the landscape of dining.

With companies competing for Millennial market attraction, it is important to learn and understand their behaviors and habits. They are tech savvy, socially conscious, seek out unique experiences, and have a desire for connectedness. How can your restaurant capture this new audience?

Connecting and Building Relationships
Millennials want to find authenticity in the brands that they love. They enjoy a story that allows them to connect with others. This positive association creates a relationship and loyalty with the business. From highlighting social responsibility initiatives to creating novelty menu items, these are ways to gain Millennial attention and draw them to your restaurant.

Digital Involvement
Embrace technology by focusing on your digital marketing tactics. Try utilizing social media to your advantage by including user-generated content in your feed. Encourage your diners to share their experience through social media platforms for a more authentic outreach. In your posts, have a “call to action” that allows customers to interact with your business digitally.

In your digital marketing strategy include approaches like local promotional tactics. On average, 60% of Millennials follow brands they like on social media to hear about new deals or coupons, while 56% of Millennials in America say that they would share their location to receive a deal at a restaurant.* By incentivizing your customers, you are able to get them in your door and coming back. You also can enhance customer experience through other technology tactics such as online reservations, mobile ordering options, self-payment, Wi-Fi, and charging stations.