Attract millennial diners with the right technology

Written by Josefine Jensen Wulff | 19 April 2017

Attract millennial diners with the right technology Millennials! You have encountered them before, and if you dismissed them as “the generation I don’t need to know or worry about”, you made a mistake. They are the consumer group everyone is talking about, especially in the restaurant industry. Millennials have a big appetite for eating out (no other generation before has ever spent this much on restaurants and eateries, Forbes reports!) and although they can be faithful to brands they like, they are not afraid to try new establishments and novel flavors. For operators in the foodservice industry, Millennials represent a great opportunity. But in order to draw them to your brand, you have to take the right steps! This is a generation that knows what it wants. Bog standard food, served the way you used to serve it ten years ago, just won’t cut it with them. Millennials’ tastes are pretty clear when it comes to food: they want nutritious, healthy dishes; they like their food affordable; they want to be able to customize it to their tastes; and finally, the whole dining process - from ordering to eating and paying - must be quick and convenient. Millennials might have a large appetite for food – but the preparation, distribution, and delivery must be supported by the right technology for them to be interested. Here’s what you need to provide to attract millennial diners to your foodservice establishment:

New service platforms

If you are up to date with alternative ways of ordering food, this should be no news to you. Online ordering, ordering ahead and with loyalty apps are already big in hospitality, for one key reason: convenience. And new ways of ordering keep popping up. In the retail industry, Instagram shoppable ads – ads you can click on to purchase the item in the picture - are already big. Can you imagine doing the same with food? Say you upload a classic “food porn” picture to Instagram. Your customers’ mouths will start watering the second they see that picture. Then they just need to click, and voilà!  They can have the dish delivered home, satisfying their appetite without ever leaving their couch. Could ordering ever be more convenient? I don’t think so. While we wait for this kind of reality to come true, for now app-based ordering services are definitely something you need to keep an eye on, and participate in.

Quick delivery services, 24/7

The old times, when you could afford to offer “take away only, no delivery,” or “delivery only between 3 pm and 8 pm”, are long gone. Companies like Ubereats and Deliveroo, allowing people to get takeaway delivered home from anywhere in the neighborhood, are getting bigger and bigger. Even if these services are relatively recent, they are already getting outdated, as technology keeps on improving the number of quick and convenient ways of getting fresh dishes straight at home. Self-driving robots are already delivering takeout, at least in some cities around the world. If you are still relying on people coming to your doors to get their dinner “because the food we make is good”, it’s time to catch up with the times, and make agreements with quick, reliable and innovative delivery services.

Mobility, in and out of the restaurant

Inside your restaurant, people expect fast service, with no time wasted. The era of the big, clunky cash register, with waiters running back and forth between the kitchen and restaurant, is long gone. Modern restaurants have removed their big checkout service stations and, in its place, they have introduced mobile POS. These new service devices put restaurants at the top of their game by allowing waiters to take orders, give information and accept payments on the fly. This is the kind of rapid, no-snag service is exactly what millennials diners ask for. Outside the restaurant, Millennials want to stay in touch with you, and to have all information about your establishment at the fingertips. According to an NRA study, three out of four smartphone users view restaurant menus on their phones at least a few times per year. Do you offer business and dishes information on different channels? If you are not on social media; if you don’t run a website; if you don’t offer a loyalty app; then, you are out of the game

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Menu customization

Millennials don’t believe that “one size fits all”. They value choice, and they want to eat dishes to their personal specifications. This means adding or removing ingredients, and knowing what goes into each dish. Can you easily customize a dish to follow each customer’s demands? Can you tell diners all the ingredients used in each and every one of your recipes? The most advanced restaurateurs can do all this, and more, straight at the POS at their customers’ table. If you are still relying on your waiters remembering information, or hoping that your diners won’t ask for any changes on the menu items, then you need to catch up with the times – your service is obsolete.

Personalization

You have heard it before – data is eating the world. The good news is, you can have a slice of the pie! Millennials love to feel acknowledged as individuals by the companies they patronize. By implementing a loyalty app, restaurateurs can easily give diners the kind of personalized interaction they desire. For example, if you know that a customer usually buys burger and fries from you on weekend nights, you could send them a voucher for free fries valid Monday to Friday; or you could give them a free portion of their favorite meal for their birthday. A loyalty app can provide you with a wealth of information on your customers’ tastes, habits and preferences. Use them!   According to an NRA study, 72 percent of diners believe that tech in restaurant increases convenience. Your millennial customers would agree. The lesson is clear: tech that helps people to easily find your restaurant, choose, order and pay is increasingly indispensable. Make sure that your restaurant is on the same page as the modern customer, and ensure that the millennial diners’ big appetite for eating out is satisfied with your food, whether or not it is consumed on your premises.  

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