Soon to surpass baby boomers in buying power, the millennial generation, those in their late teens to early 30s, are set to reshape the way the food business works.
Of note for the restaurant industry, is that millennials have their own ways of doing things.
Their values of societal and environmental good, coupled with thriftiness, are creating a new kind of dine-out experience that focuses on sustainability, local foods, healthy options and bargain prices.
Tell me a story
It seems more and more people are looking for food with a story. This is especially true of millennials who value individuality and uniqueness, and adventure. Dining out is a way to experience food from all over the world and to share that experience with friends.
Local is best
While millennials are often looking for adventures, they also value local foods. Whatever the locally grown produce – beef, artisan or handcrafted breads, cheese, ciders or beers – millennials want to know where their food and drink is coming from and how the produce they eat is harvested.
Millenials stay 'on song' and still appreciate the good things of life
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They are also conscious of the fact that buying local keeps money in their communities. Interest in local foods has spurred on the Farm to Table movement, which encourages consumers and businesses to minimise the distance food travels before being eaten.
All in together
When dining out it’s a social event and they prefer communal tables, where everyone can help themselves to the food in the centre of their table.
Easy on the purse
While millennials care about the environment, local food and the good of their society, they also love a bargain. But they are not cheap. They expect good, healthy food at reasonable prices. This is a huge change from the super-sized, all-you-can-eat sales tactics of the 1990s and early 2000s.
Choice of healthy
Menu customisation is an expectation for millennials as they value choice. Their interest in certified organic foods is on the increase, as they are more concerned with healthy eating than ever before.
It’s important for restaurants to utilize social media and mobile technology to engage millennial customers. Research shows that 65 per cent of social media conversations are about where to eat out.