Boost Business | 6 Ways to Win Over Millennial and Gen-Z Diners

Getting new customers to visit your restaurant can take some strategizing. You’re probably well-versed in appealing to the Boomers and Gen-Xers. Now how do you cash in on the generations that make up 40% of Canada’s population, the Millennial and Gen-Z diners? 

For starters, it’s good to keep in mind that this group makes trends, they don’t follow them. And when it comes to experiences, they want the whole enchilada. Read on for our tips on how to make their experience a memorable one so they keep coming back for more. 

1. SUSTAINABILITY. SUSTAINABILITY. SUSTAINABILITY.

There’s a reason this one’s on the top of the list. Organic, locally sourced, environmentally and socially responsible food, is high up on the menu for this group. They’re keen on knowing where their food comes from and how it’s made, so consider offering things like cage-free eggs, grass-fed cows, free-range chickens, organic fruits and vegetables. YPulse says, “more young consumers are looking to reducetarianism foods in the new year, significantly reducing their consumption of meat and other animal products.” Once you have any of those ingredients on the menu, shout it from the rooftops—put it in your menu descriptions, on your website, on your social pages, anywhere you possibly can. 

2. GET CRAFTY

From beverages to brews to artisanal menu items, this group has a penchant for all things craft—especially if it’s a new twist on an old fave. They crave a unique experience and anything that looks good enough for the ‘gram. Think hand-crafted bread, house-made sauces with fresh herbs from your restaurant’s garden, or anything farm-to-table. Remember, the name of the game here is genuineness, not convenience (unlike the preferences of their Boomer and Gen X peers).  

3. MAKE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE KNOWN

One thing we know about this group? They live on their phones. In fact, according to Restaurants Canada, tech-savvy Millennials and Gen Zs aged 16-34 years old are the heaviest users of technology, accounting for more than 54% of mobile orders. So, you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be checking you out online before they commit. That’s why making a great first impression with a strong digital presence is an absolute must. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, up-to-date, and easy to navigate. You’ll also want to keep a good eye on your social media pages and Google reviews. That means responding to reviews, when necessary, especially if you get an unfavourable one. Remember, it’s all about how you right the wrongs. 

4. KEEP UP WITH THE COMMUNITY

For Millennials and Gen Zs it’s not just about the food, it’s about the community. Though they may have less money than older generations, they want their dollars to make a difference. Meaning, they want to know that the restaurants they favour support meaningful causes, practice good social ethics, and stand for something. Acts like charitable contributions and supporting (or teaming up with) other local businesses in the area is a great place to start. 

5. MAKE SURE YOUR DISHES ARE CAMERA-READY (AND YOUR FOOD PICS ARE ON POINT) 

As we mentioned earlier, when it comes to their phones, the Millennials and Zs are glued. One of their favourite things to post? You guessed it, food pics. Making sure your dishes are aesthetically appealing when they arrive is everything. Though it may be an easier feat for in-restaurant dining, there are things you can do to give your delivery orders a little razzle dazzle. Things like fresh herb garnishes or house-made side sauces can help, as well as strong, sustainable packaging to help ensure food arrives looking as good as it did when it left the kitchen. And while we’re at it, make sure those menu pics look as delicious as they taste. Need some tips on how to take tasty looking ones? Check out this blog

6. GO CONTACTLESS

Gen-Ys and Zs are all about easy peasy, zero-contact ordering, payment, and delivery (if you’re already a partner with Skip, you know the drill). Speaking of Skip, this group also leads the pack when it comes to using food delivery apps, according to a recent study by FP Canada Research Foundation (even more of a reason to appeal to this crowd!). Restaurants that leverage tech to help shape the contactless customer experience will be the ones to come out on top. 

At the end of the day, it’s safe to say that Millennials and Gen Zs want their experiences with food to be meaningful. In other words, they’re looking for both their hunger and their hearts to be fed. 

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