We’ve all been trying to figure out millennials for years now. And there’s a good reason for that. As of July 2019, millennials finally surpassed baby boomers as the largest living generation, according to the Pew Research Center.

As we head into 2021, restaurateurs need to make sure they’re still marketing to millennials effectively.

A few weeks ago, I reviewed restaurant marketing to Gen Z might look like heading into 2021. This week we’re going to be taking a look at how it’s going to look for millennials.

Let’s dive in.

Marketing Trends

Back in July, we covered what you need to know about millennial marketing in 2020. With 2021 quickly approaching, it’s good for any business owner – restaurateurs included – to be aware of the latest marketing trends defining such a significant generation. Here are the four factors we highlighted then, along with some restaurant-specific advice.

Largest generation. Like I said, millennials are the largest living generation. That’s not going to change soon – Pew Research reported that they’re projected to hold that position until 2033. So for at least the next decade, millennials will hold the biggest slice of the marketing pie.

Looking to save. Millennials are value conscious. They’re very good at finding deals, doing their research, and will often select one brand over another if it’s a better fit for their budget. Millennials are certainly loyal to brands, but the right deal can often be enough to sway them

Restaurants need to keep this in mind when marketing to these consumers. Be aware of competitor pricing. And not just when it comes to their standard menu, but their happy hour deals, LTOs, and other specials too. Adjust accordingly to attract millennials into your restaurant.

Feedback oriented. As you might already know, millennials love to engage with brands. Providing feedback and leaving reviews are common activities for this generation.

And guess what? You want feedback. Whether it’s to help bolster your review presence or provide insight into things you could be doing better, feedback is essential for your restaurant’s long-term success.

Don’t just expect feedback from millennials. Embrace it. Solicit it through your marketing initiatives. Respond to reviews and promote UGC (user-generated content) on social media. I promise, you’ll reap the benefits.

Mobile minded. Another interesting factoid reported by the Pew Research Center: nearly one out of every five millennials uses the Internet purely from their smartphone. While it’s no surprise that a ton of millennials are glued to their smartphones, it’s a bit surprising to think that so many of them exclusively use them exclusively for Internet use.

But these are the times we live in.

That’s why it’s so important for restaurants to embrace mobile marketing. As a result of the pandemic, mobile has become even more intertwined with dining than ever. With mobile ordering, digital menus, and other contactless solutions proving popular, mobile will continue to play a key role for years to come.

Dining Trends

Now that we’ve covered the marketing side of things, let’s review three dining trends underscoring how millennials are choosing to dine heading into 2021.

Healthier choices. Much like their Gen Z cohorts, millennials are attracted to healthier choices. And it goes beyond calorie counts. It’s about the ingredients and where they came from. Are they organic? Are they local and fresh? Make sure your menu can answer all of these questions. It matters.

Meal kits. For millennials, convenience is critical. These consumers are entering the busiest portions of their lives, managing families, careers, and everything in between. Meal kits, popularized by companies like Blue Apron and HelloFresh, have risen to prominence, attracting huge millennial audiences.

Restaurants can get in on the action too. Many restaurants have already started to experiment with them due to the pandemic. Even after Covid-19 is gone, they’ll continue to remain popular with millennials. Don’t hesitate to give them a shot.

Family fare. With the oldest millennials closing in on forty (Wikipedia lists the millennial birth range between 1981 and 1996), many are becoming parents and forming families. Historically, you might be conditioned to think of pumpkin spice lattes or avocado toast when you think of millennials. But in reality, they’re getting older and having kids. Having a kids menu or family night might actually make a difference if you’re looking to attract a millennial audience.

But here’s the kicker. Before you load up on french fries, consider the following.

“In terms of differences, millennials are choosier parents than other generations have been and want all natural, organic foods for themselves as well as their kids,” said Anne Mills, senior manager of consumer insights at Technomic, speaking on the company’s Generational Consumer Trend Report.

Get Started With CoGoBuzz

Whether you’re one of our current customers, or you’re interested in joining the CoGoBuzz family, we’re committed to helping businesses affected by COVID-19.

For current customers, we’re providing free text message service, allowing you to send a link to order online, purchase gift cards, and/or notify customers of new hours.

For new customers, we’re offering our hardware at cost, donating our services, time, and covering shipping costs. Prepare for the future with CoGoWiFi Free to collect your customers’ phone numbers. There are no contracts or monthly fees, and we offer unlimited customer data storage.

Message from our CEO

“From pricing to packaging, our mission has always been to provide customers with unbeatable value. That’s why, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we are seeking to provide the most aggressive offers to help suffering restaurants survive. We believe that half of small restaurants will fail in the year after operations return to normal. The restaurants that survive and thrive will be the ones that win loyalty and focus on bringing customers back over the following year.”

– Steve Gould, CEO

Click here for more details on how we’re handling the crisis.

What steps is your restaurant taking to keep up with millennials? Let us know in the comments.