You’ve been hearing - for sometime now - how relevant Millennials are to what’s happening in hospitality. But why are they so important?
The numbers are staggering for these children of baby boomers – age 19 to 34 years old - 80 million strong with 80 million in the wings. Their spending power and influence can make a tremendous impact on your business. And this should get your attention!
By 2017 Millennials will have more spending power than any other generation. Currently, they represent $80 million in restaurant spending and have not yet reached their maximum spending power. However, they are a diverse, educated, economically challenged and demanding group of consumers. So, how can you attract more Millennials to your venue and cash in on a piece of the $80 million pie?
1. Social Responsibility: This demographic group looks to insure you are responsible with respect to the environment and how you treat your team members. Millennials believe that if you have issues taking care of the world outside your business as well as how you treat your team members, then their trust may waiver on how you serve food and beverage. Millennials will also link to a cause that they believe in. Brands that put real time and energy behind causes like “Round it up America” or “911 for Kids” increase their trust. Therefore, promoting your social responsibility will help gain traction with this generation.
2. They Are Connected: Millennials have lots of friends and frequently ask friends before selecting where to go. Therefore, review websites like Yelp! are used consistently by this group to determine who does it well and who does not. These digital review websites can support your business in multiple ways:
• Check out the competition. What do they do well?
• Insure customers can find you. Fill out your profile to support visits.
• Quote and use positive reviews from those who give you “kudos”.
• Respond to clients and resolve issues.
• Trends pop up on these websites that you can monitor, address and take quick action on.
• Identify obstacles that can be barriers for success.
• Most review websites are free, but you can pay for extra advertising which will also remove competitor’s ads from your listing.
3. Food and Beverage: Ensure you have quality ingredients in both food and beverage recipes as Millennials believe they deserve the best and will not settle for less. They also like variety - more choices and customizing their selections. Millennials are interested in quality food that is healthier and will venture into a wide range of ethnic food and beverages. Therefore, it is important to make sure you promote these features. Demonstrating your unique products through promotions and advertising will give you a better chance at drawing this demographic into your venue.
4. Service: Don’t expect Millennials to wait for orders with a strong intent to return. They want quality food, served quickly so look at ways to capitalize, like table top tablets or hand held devices for quick pay out. Expect and demand your brand to be seamlessly linked with digital service options. Let them know that you are digitally savvy and cater to their fast-paced lifestyle.
5. Your Voice: Attracting the Millennial crowd will not happen unless you take action. Actionable tactics could include but certainly not be limited to.
• Constant Market Strategy: With trends in both food and beverage changing quickly, stay ahead of the wave. Don’t panic but shift when appropriate and when it fits your brand architecture.
• Eye Catching Graphics and POP: Millennials may give your point of purchase or website literally seconds of view, so make an impact that is relevant and vibrant.
• Don’t try to fool them. This is a smart group who don’t like to be fooled. Keep the messaging simplistic and actionable.
• Monitor Pricing: There is a lot of competition from fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle and Panera. Monitor pricing very closely with both food and beverage is an important strategy.
• Innovate: Millennials keep up with trends that change quickly with food and beverage. Find new ways to server lunch and dinner.
• Support a Cause: Millennials are loyal to brands they love and those who support their community like disaster relief, local food banks and charities.
Millennials are here and ripe for the taking. Find em’, Understand em’, Wow em’ and Keep em’.