Attracting Millennial Diners & Drinkers

The Millennial generation is “the wild card” says Mary Wagstaff, president of Wagstaff Worldwide. And recently there has been a shift in their dining trends.

“We are starting to see the Millennials going to newer, classier, hipper restaurants,” said Santosh Jayaram, cofounder of Table 8. But understanding they differ has become more crucial now that Millennials dominate as the largest consumer demographic—bigger than the baby boomers—and account for 21 percent of all consumer discretionary spending.

“You also need a nice, big list of craft beers, from local breweries, on draft,” added Peter  Frost of Crain’s Chicago Business. “That’s very important for Millennials.” Frost also warned that they won’t stand for pedestrian food and beverage. “Now everyone is a foodie or an aspiring foodie,” he said.

Therefore, understanding the steps to crafting a Millennial-friendly marketing strategy is key. Bars and restaurants that rely on a one-size-fits-all approach will not succeed.

  • A mobile-friendly approach is essential.

Targeting younger diners requires communicating with them in a style that resonates with them. Millennials are constantly tied to their mobile devices. Most of us are! But Millennials grew up with them increasing their expectations when searching for local eateries.

  • Don’t rely completely on mobile.

Recent research on Millennials shows that many of them actually prefer to use a loyalty card. Ti Martin, co-proprietor of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, advocated the “old school” way attracting Millennials by remembering their names, birthdays and favorite dishes and generally lavishing them with personalized attention.

  • Being relevant matters.

Millennials are loyal to brands that understand them. “Different groups like to be spoken to in a different tone of voice; Millennials may want a more casual, even cheeky, tone,” says Andrew Robbins president of Paytronix.

  • Find out what works for them?

“By far the reward they prefer is a free product,” Robbins says. “They would rather spend $100 and get a free pizza.” The other valued promotions include buy one/get one, member-only special pricing and gift-with-purchase deals. 

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