In 2019, millennials made up around 31% of the global population. Born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s, this generation is often the one to make the headlines. Just in case you haven’t heard: millennials are one of the biggest driving forces behind the booming food delivery business. They’re looking for convenience, unique and personal food experiences and authenticity. 

With 49% of American millennials spending more on dining that they save for the future*, any food business would be wise to market to this group of customers. So how can your restaurant identify and engage with millennials, or gen Y’ers, as they are also called? 

 

#1 Use technology, because they do

Millennials are one of the most tech savvy generations to date. They grew up around technology, and they expect any kind of business to adopt technologies to make things easier, faster and more convenient.

IGroup of millennials with smartphonesnvest in a good website that showcases your menu, story and ambience. More importantly, make sure your millennial customer can book a table and order food online. Almost 6 out of 10 dining experiences are off-premise nowadays*, so your delivery, takeaway or drive-thru experience should be on point. Embrace new strategies, processes, and automation technologies in order to stay competitive and deliver a quality experience.

As soon as you have customer data, following a booking or order, you could use this info to send your customers timely emails or text messages with customer review requests, personalized offers or just a “thank you for your business” note.

 

#2 Reach them on social media

More than half of millennials reportedly use social media to find a restaurant*. Needless to say, positive online ratings, reviews and recommendations are crucial to convince this age group to pay you a visit.

Make an effort to gather reviews by offering incentives like coupons, discounts or free delivery with your next online order. If you get a bad review, know that your response will be watched by hundreds of other (potential) customers... So choose to react wisely.

Engage with your online followers and fans by sharing their content, organizing contests and giveaways, posting photos of your dishes, new menu items, etc. 

 

Person taking food picture

 

#3 Tell an authentic story 

In 2020, you’ll hardly be able to miss the biggest food trends, which have been around for a while and continue to go strong. We’re talking about vegan, vegetarian, organic and local food. But even if your brand isn’t 100% in line with these trends, it’s all about the unique story your restaurant has to tell.

Let’s say you own a Portuguese chicken restaurant, and the bulk of your products are imported. Does that mean you won’t be able to attract millennial foodies, a target group which has around 3 times more vegetarians than older generations*? Not exactly. Gen Y’ers are always looking for authenticity, outstanding service and the story behind the place or product. They are very informed, and very susceptible to a brand’s values, ethical principles and mission. 

Speak from the heart, show your passion and include your background story on social media channels and your site. Invest in content to relay your brand personality to your audience. 

 

#4 Allow them to socialize

While off-premise orders are picking up, many people still love dining out. But there’s been a shift: dining out now is seen more as a social event, something for special occasions. Restaurants should be ready to welcome groups of friends or families getting together to celebrate a birthday, a promotion or just a Friday night.

Group of young people socializing in restaurantSome restaurants have changed their seating configurations completely to meet this new reality, creating communal tables, comfy lounge areas and semi-separate seating areas for bigger parties. Millennials want their night out to be unforgettable and fun, so you could also look into hosting special theme nights, inviting budding local artists or having cooking or cocktail workshops.

 

With 68% of gen Y’ers consulting their friends before they make any buying or purchasing decision*, taking a different and personal approach to both delivery and dining out may benefit your restaurant significantly. Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful marketing strategies out there, even with all the crazy technologies out there.

 

* Sources: LendEDU, The Spoon, OpenTable

Karolien Odou
By Karolien Odou

Content marketer at Deliverect and fulltime carnivore