These days, the crosshairs of every restaurant are focused on the same age group, millennials. Young adults born between 1980 and 2000 are the grand prize. This group has the most spending power of any demographic, they are just starting to develop long-term brand loyalties, they are willing to splurge, and here’s something that shouldn’t shock you: they love to eat. According the the NPD group, millennials make over 14 billion visits to restaurants each year adding up to 95 billion dollars spent.
Another stat that should jump out to you: 62% of millennials would rather go out to their favorite restaurant than have a gourmet meal made at home. That sound that restaurateurs are hearing now? Well, that's the cha-ching that the register used to make with each purchase (now it's more like a shhhhhoop of credit cards sliding through readers). So it’s no wonder restaurants are looking for creative ways to entice this tech savvy group into their business.
The majority of BlueCart employees fall into the millennial range, so we did a round-table discussion at Headquarters to discuss some things that would get us into the door of a restaurant. Out of that meeting came these great ideas.
Knock 'em Down with the Bowl
Bowling might not be the trendiest sport but you know what is trending? Food bowls. First made popular by Chipotle, many fast-casual restaurants and traditional restaurants are banking on this craze to keep rolling. Nearly all bowls start with a choice between grains and greens, and the options expand from there.
When you break it down, giving guests the ability to craft meals to their own taste buds is a surefire way to appeal to the masses.
Entice the ears, then the mouth will follow
One of our more recent hires disrupted a conversation with their ringtone going off (baffled us that he/she actually uses a specific ringtone), but that got us thinking. Millennials really enjoy music when eating, whether it’s a live band or great playlist, it makes the experience of dining much more interactive. Making a comment on music is an easy way to break the ice and turn an awkward dinner into a fun night.
With that in mind, we searched for companies that realize the importance of music. Dozmia allows restaurants to set their own playlists or automatically curates songs that you want to be associated with your brands. Customers can follow your playlist and share it. Boom. Now your restaurant brand is viral.
The More the Merrier
We love to go out with friends, even the one that just shows up without ever actually being invited. Millennials hate the idea of “wasting a night” so during the week many millennials want to do happy hours and grab a late dinner. But who wants to eat alone?
We think millennials are more afraid of public speaking than being the one person at the restaurant eating by themselves. So what about offering a deal that is open to group outings? That would be a great way to bring in some new clientele and get more bang for your buck. Instead of marketing to grab one wallet, you have the potential to grab five.
Beach season is each season
Millennials are very body conscious, and if you’ve noticed lately, many restaurants are pushing a healthier approach. Salad franchises like Sweetgreen and Chop’t are growing popular, and lunch hour rush at their doors is starting to resemble lines to a new movie premiere. If you think the reason for their success is due to only offering salads then you would be dead wrong.
The reason these establishments are killing the restaurant game is because they are highlighting the benefits of eating healthy. Every restaurant you go to offers a healthy alternative, it has to or else it shuts out a major segment of the population. What restaurants need to do is to find ways to highlight that healthy alternative in a way that rivals the appeal of the unhealthy option. Our best idea? Put the healthy alternative in a place that catches the eye (middle of a menu's second page, or on the sandwich board outside are great starts) and include the caloric count on it for bonafides. Another way restaurants are pushing a healthy agenda? They are ordering from more speciality suppliers. More suppliers mean more orders and restaurants are managing those orders through BlueCart.
Now, watch your profits do the opposite of beach season, and get super fat!