The benefit of catering to the millennial demographic, the most significant group since the Baby Boomers, can have a tremendous payout for bar and nightclub owners. Their young, fun and come with a disposable income. These trendsetters are a coveted group for business owners who want to succeed in an otherwise fickle market.
George Barton, founder of gBarton Innovations, said when it comes to Millennials, “Bar owners need to be flexible and shift quickly” because this group “shifts from trend to trend.”
While Millennials, which number 80 million, are hospitality savvy, they also want to be in the know. “The biggest challenge for an operator is to stay up with the trends,” he says, adding that Millennials are critical, commanding and diverse. “We can’t do without them,” he says.
Barton offered five tips on how to entice Millennials to the bar while giving them what they want.
1. Use Your Staff To Capture
Barton, who recently left T.F.I. Friday’s after 35 years and with 100 restaurants under his direction, said 99% of his staff was of millennial age. “Your workforce can assist—Millennials serving Millennials,” he says. He advises to find out where your young workforce likes to go after work, find out what trends they like and use them to keep an eye on the millennial crowd eventually implementing their likes into your own bar strategy.
2. Remember That Millennials Have Spending Power.
By 2017, Millennials will have more spending power than any generation, Barton said. “They’re powerful because they’re demanding; they’re educated,” he says. “Fortunately and unfortunately, they’re economically challenged.” Because of the group’s economic uncertainty, it provides bar owners an opportunity to offer them a valuable deal. “Their looking for great value, yet they can’t be fooled,” he explains. “They don’t want quality. They want a great price and great value for their product.”
3. Smartphones Are A Gateway
Technology is second nature to Millennials who rely it on for interacting with friends and businesses. In 2014, Barton says mobile devices will be critically important. With mobile comes the benefit of social media, which keeps Millennials constantly connected. “They use things like Yelp for recommendations,” he says. “Everything that’s going on with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp—all of those platforms are important.”
While they’re out with their smartphones, even if they’re with a group of people, they like communal seating with easy access to Wi-Fi to constantly keep connected. “With strong social media, you can advertise to the market and screen your brand,” Barton adds.
Social media platforms also identify trends. Looking at user comments on review sites or social networks gives operators a heads up on what to focus on. “It’s critically important to follow what Millennials are saying to their brand. It’s effective and immediate,” he says.
4. They’re Attracted To Deals
Millennials like to know what’s going on and are interested on what’s offered on the menu. Millennials, Barton said, love late-night offerings and owners should consider staying open later to cater to this late-night crowd. “They love going home after work and going back out at 9 or 10 at night.” Millennials also like small plates and limited time offering promotions, Barton says.
5. Give Millennials A Reason To Be Loyal To You
Millennials are attracted to brands that support causes they care about. They “hold onto those types of initiatives,” Barton said. “They are infatuated with causes,” he explains. “They can shift on a dime if they don’t like a cause. It doesn’t mean they won’t go there, but it will shift with the tide.”