10 Millennial Restaurant Dining Trends

How the Millennial are Changing Restaurants

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Soon to surpass Baby Boomers in buying power, the Millennial generation is the largest US demographic. Comprised of people in their late teens to early 30s, Millennials are reshaping American business. For the restaurant industry, Millennials have their own distinct dining preferences. From the type of food they eat to how to market to them, Millennial dining trends are changing the way we eat out.

Food Adventures

According to Nestle Top 10 Food Trends for 2015 report, more and more people are looking for food with a story. This is especially true of Millennials who value individuality and uniqueness and adventure. Dining out is a way to experience food from all over the world and to share that experience with friends.

Local Foods

While Millennials are often looking for adventures, they also value local foods. Whether locally grown produce, locally raised beef, artisan or handcrafted breads, cheese or beer, Millennials want to know where their food and drink is coming from and how the good they eat is harvested. They are also conscious of the fact that buying local keeps money in their communities. Interest in local foods has spurned the Farm to Table movement in many areas. Farm to Table encourages consumers and businesses to minimize the distance food travels before being eaten. For example, most fresh fruits and vegetables travel an average of 1,500 miles before reaching their final destination.

For Millennials, Farm to Table is an important consideration when choosing what and where to eat. 

Communal Dining

According to the Buzztime article Millennial Dining Trends You Should Know, Millennials view dining as a social event and prefer communal tables when eating out. Communal dining is something to think about when planning your restaurant seating and dining room.

Food Trucks

It is no coincident that the popularity of food trucks coincided with the rise of Millennial diners. Food trucks offer unique foods in a fun and often social setting.

Affordable Food

While Millennials care about the environment, local food and general society good, they also love a bargain. According to Marketing to Millennials: Deciphering the Enigma Generation, 35 percent of Millennials would compromise their values (a little bit) to save some money. But Millennials aren’t cheap. They expect good, healthy food at reasonable prices. This is a distinctive change from the super-sized, all-you-can-eat sales tactics of the 1990s and early 2000s and has spurned tremendous growth in the fast casual restaurant sector, with chains like Chipotle and Panera Bread.

Convenience Is Important

Is this the end of Starbucks? According to the National Restaurant Association, Millennials prefer fast food, deli food and pizza over coffee and causal or fine dining.    

Choice

Menu customization is an expectation for Millennials. They value choice and will not be happy with a one-size-fits-all menu. 

Healthy Foods

According to a report from the Nielsen Perishables Group, 30 percent of Millennials eat foods that are certified as organic foods.

 There is increasing evidence to show that the American consumer is more concerned with healthy eating, than ever before. In it’s 2013 National Household Survey, the National Restaurant Association reports that 81 percent of adults polled thought there were more healthy options available on restaurant menus than there were two years ago.  

Connecting Through Technology   

Important for restaurants to utilize social media and mobile technology to engage millennial customers. According to the YAYA Connection, 65 percent social media conversations are about where to eat out. 

Small Batch Alcohol

Just like local foods, small, handmade batches of alcohol are widely popular with Millennials.

Chipotle and Smashburger are both adding a line of craft beers to their fast casual menus in certain markets.

Millennials are changing the way we dine. Their values of societal and environmental good, coupled with a thriftiness toward money are creating a new kind of restaurant experience that focuses on sustainability, local foods, healthy options and bargain prices.