Millennials can be the ideal QSR and fast casual customer—but you won’t be able to use the same old marketing techniques to reach them. They choose restaurants for different reasons than older generations and are firmly committed to digital and social sources for brand information.
The Millennials generation—currently ages 16-34—represents more than 25% of the U.S. population. They have direct spending power of around $200 billion and indirect spending power estimated to be around $500 billion when you factor in their influence over their parents’ purchasing decisions.
Barkley, in partnership with The Boston Consulting Group and Service Management Group, recently conducted a large-scale study called “American Millennials: Deciphering the Enigma Generation.” Here are a few restaurant trends uncovered by the study:
- Millennials eat out significantly more than non-Millennials and they are much more likely to eat out with with friends and co-workers or classmates.
- Millennials are more than twice as likely as non-Millennials to visit restaurants during off-peak hours.
- When dining out, Millennials gravitate toward “fast” formats which better accommodate their fast-paced, convenience-driven lifestyles.
- Newer, emerging restaurants such as Chipotle, Five Guys, Qdoba, Jamba Juice and Jimmy John’s are more often on the radar of Millennials and lesser known to older generations.
- Millennials’ restaurant choices are driven by convenience of location, healthy meal selections, exotic food choices and “fun,” “child-friendly” environments.
- For special occasions, Millennials are more flexible than older generations when it comes to increasing their spend and patronizing fine dining establishments.
- Millennials snack more than older generations:
The survey also took a look at Millennials’ digital, mobile and social habits:
- Millennials are less likely to watch live TV than non-Millennials and more likely to stream TV shows on their computers.
- While roughly the same proportion of Millennials versus non-Millennials use Facebook, Millennials maintain significantly larger networks of friends.
- Millennials obtain peer advice for making restaurant decisions more regularly than non-Millennials. 62% report using social sites or text communication at least occasionally, compared to only 20% of non-Millennials
- Online resources with advice from a collective of contributors (Yelp) have penetrated the Millennial generation more than older generations. 32% report using Yelp at least occasionally, compared to only 11% of non-Millennials.
- 53% of Millennials like exploring brands on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. 28% feel that the brand having a Facebook page is an important decision-making factor that guides their selection process.
- Over one-third (34%) of Millennials consider the presence of a mobile website to be an important factor in selecting a brand
Interested in more insights from the study? The results will be presented at the Share.Like.Buy. conference on September 22-23, 2011 in San Francisco, CA. All attendees will receive a copy of the research study. For more information, contact Jeff Fromm.