The following article is a guest post by Tim Sunderland and our friends at NetWaiter.
Between 18-34 years of age, millennials make up a large part of the customer base for most restaurants. In order to reach this younger group to grow your sales, there are a few things you should know about them.
They’re a group who tend to favor quick and easy meals over high-end dining, choosing restaurants with lots of options and lower price points. And they view eating out as an opportunity to connect with their friends and family.
But the one thing you absolutely must know about millennials? You need to learn how to reach them if you want to bring them into your restaurant.
Grow Your Online Presence
Millennials are a tech-savvy group, with many of them not even remembering a time without the Internet. Use this to your advantage by being visible online. Your marketing efforts should absolutely include social media. Millennials are active on a variety of today’s platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
However, it’s not enough to just post updates on these platforms. You need to actually take the time to build a connection with them. Ask your restaurant’s customers to follow you on social media and then encourage them to start a conversation.
Ask questions or request feedback! Share content that will get them talking. And when they do respond, be sure to write back to them. It shows that you’re listening and that you care about what they have to say.
You may also want to consider starting a blog, as it’s a format that speaks to this younger generation. A blog can provide many benefits to your restaurant and can offer another way to develop a relationship with new and existing customers.
Encourage Word-Of-Mouth Recommendations
Millennials tend to not go for the traditional marketing efforts of decades past. Instead, they value the opinions of friends more than anything else. This is where word-of-mouth marketing comes in. Encourage your current customers to tell their friends about your restaurant.
To do this, focus on building relationships with the customers you already have. Be warm and friendly to everyone who comes into your restaurant. Start a conversation and make them feel welcome.
When your customers have a great experience in your restaurant, they are sure to tell their friends about it.
Create a Rewards Program
While customers of any age would appreciate a good rewards program, it’s an especially great incentive for millennials.
Give your young customers a reason to keep coming back by creating a rewards program that gives them something in return for their loyalty.
Your rewards program could offer a free menu item, a discount, or something else. When customers feel appreciated, they’ll keep coming back for more.
Inform Them About Your Food
Many millennials are socially aware and interested in knowing about the foods they’re putting into their bodies. Keep them informed by letting them know the nutritional value of the foods on your menu.
If you have any foods that are organic, hormone-free, locally sourced, etc., let them know! Highlight those details on your menu so your millennial customers can make an informed choice.
One of the biggest differences between these younger patrons and the older generations is their sincere interest in these types of things.
If they really care about things like organic and free-range, make sure they know about it. Keeping them informed will likely earn you plenty of recommendations being handed out to friends with similar dining interests and preferences.
Create a Community Atmosphere
Millennials like to dine out with friends as a way to connect and spend time with one another. Make sure the atmosphere of your restaurant is inviting to younger people who see eating out as a social event.
Encourage people to bring in larger groups by having accommodations to seat numerous people at one table. You may also want to consider holding events at your restaurant that would be fun for customers to take part in.
Another good way to get more people into your restaurant is to offer discounts for larger groups. The more food you sell, the more money you’re going to make, regardless of discounts.