Developing and sustaining a profitable business requires a loyal and expanding customer base. Millennials – also known as Generation Y and Generation Now – are a large and diverse market with significant spending power. They’ve developed an enormous influence on the success of large businesses, so much that, much of their promotional marketing strategies are targeting them. Industries such as fashion and electronics are expected to be influenced by the ever-so-often changing trends and fads of Millennials. But one industry may come as a surprise. The restaurant industry has seen substantial influences from young adults as eating habits have changed with the generation.
Millennials spend 44 percent of their food dollars on eating out, according to the Food Institute’s analysis of the United States Department of Agriculture’s food expenditure data from 2014 (USDA, 2014). That represents a 10.7 percent increase from prior data points in 2010. “As millennials grow older they have more expendable income for eating away from home, contributing to that increase in year over year expenditures,” said Food Institute President and CEO Brian Todd (Talty, 2016). This increase is sure to grab the attention of marketing departments of every restaurant across the country. Many have taken notice, especially the breakfast eateries. Competing chains such as Denny’s and IHOP have made extraordinary efforts to reach their new target audiences. What seems to be the best way of doing so is via social media.
While both IHOP and Denny’s seem to be aiming at the millennial audience on social media, they are approaching the process in different manners. “America’s Diner” is perfectly content to say whatever it likes on social media, even when it doesn’t really pertain to its products (Patterson, 2015). The company’s social media posts are silly, fun and never sound as if there was any corporate planning involved—which is likely what resonates with the younger audiences, making Denny’s a fan favorite for the younger generation. Their ability to communicate directly with consumers drives their growth.
Patterson, Michael. 2016. 10 Brands Doing an Amazing Job on Social Media. Retrieved on April 12, 2017 from http://www.adweek.com/digital/michael-patterson-10-brands-amazing-social-media/
Talty, Alexandra. 2016. New Study Finds Millennials Spend 44 Percent of Food Dollars on Eating Out. Retrieved on April 17, 2016 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexandratalty/2016/10/17/millennials-spend-44-percent-of-food-dollars-on-eating-out-says-food-institute/#781aba3d3ff6
USDA. 2014. Food Expenditures. Retrieved on April 17, 2017 from https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-expenditures.aspx