For millennials, dining out is no longer about satisfying your hunger — it’s about having a new experience. In recent years restaurants have brought us innovative concepts with exotic menu flavors and broader choices. While the choices for adults have become endless, the options for families with young children have declined, which has led to fewer family restaurant visits. Foodservice operators must pay closer attention to family dining trends and brand themselves in a way to fit the needs and preferences of millennial-led families.
It’s important to point out that millennial parents are more likely to include their children and invite other families with children to join them while dining out. To successfully win the hearts and loyalty of this growing demographic, foodservice operators should offer more than Kid’s Menus and “Kids Eat Free” offerings. So what do millennial parents and their children care about while dining out?
- Willing to Pay More for Quality
Millennial parents not only dine out more often than the previous generation, but they are also willing to pay more. But what are they paying more for? Transparency. Clarity of food content has never been more important to millennial parents than now. Labels such as “Wholesome,” “Organic,” and “GMO-free” are some of the keywords millennials are drawn to for themselves and their kids. These parents know what’s healthy and what’s not, and they are willing to pay more for higher quality foods for their kids at restaurants. By providing higher quality ingredients, restaurants can attract this health-conscious generation, who will feel good knowing that their children can receive the same quality meal at a restaurant as they would at home.
- Brand Association
Brand association among millennials is important. Millennials are a generous group that is drawn to brands with similar values. This generation doesn’t just buy food; they also want to support a cause. Restaurants that bring sustainability to their operation or are involved in local non-profit organization are brands with the most gains. For instance, buying from local farmers, maximizing the use of disposable products and donating foods to local shelters are just some of the ways restaurants can win the hearts and loyalty of millennial parents. Foodservice operators should also take measures to attract families with children, such as with specialized kid’s menus, and personalized reusable kid’s tumblers with logos, cartoon and super hero characters.
- Provide Menu Customization
Gone are the days when basic chicken nuggets and mac and cheese were acceptable kid’s meals. Millennials brought menu customization to the restaurant industry and they expect the same to be available for their children. These parents encourage their children to try foreign flavors and spices at a very young age, sometimes as young as 3 or 4. Whether it’s Mexican, Middle Eastern or Asian flavors, foodservice operators should provide a menu selection that offers wide-scale customization options, including flavors, spice-level and portion size. Offering flavors that fit the taste of the entire family is key.
- Entertain the Kids
Kids have become a great influence to the restaurant selection. Millennial parents are more likely to let their kids pick a place to dine and a recent survey showed that 60% were highly satisfied when their kids picked the dining location. So keeping children happy is a critical aspect of running a family restaurant. Children are fascinated by online games, and we often see kids playing with their parents’ smartphones. Restaurants can take this opportunity to attract kids to their locations by adding QR codes for popular games on the menu. Parents can then easily download the app with a smartphone for their kids to play.
The key to attracting millennial parents is to understand their needs and values. When it comes to quality, millennial parents are not going to compromise for themselves or their children. Foodservice operators can best gain their attention by offering the elements that fit the preference of the whole family.
Contact your Local Cambro Representative for more information about innovative custom ideas to attract the growing millennial parent market.