How Restaurants Can Appeal to Gen X and Millennial Customers

Knowing the demographic of your customers is incredibly valuable for marketing your restaurant effectively. The more you know your customers the better you will be able to satisfy their needs. One way to know a lot more about your customers is to understand what generation they come from – there are similar attitudes shared by major generational groupings. Each Generational Group will have different needs when it comes to food service.

Let’s take a look at two of the major generations that many restaurants are appealing to, Generation X and Millennials. These generations represent a significant amount of purchasing power, so what do you need to understand in order to relate to them? What values do they have and how can you reflect those values in what you have to offer?

Who Are Millennials and Generation X?

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Generation X is defined as the demographic of people who were born in the Western World after the Post WWII baby boom, between the early 1960s and the early 1980s. They are different than the Baby Boomers and they are often called the “MTV Generation”. They experienced the emergence of electronic music, music videos, heavy metal, punk rock, grunge and hip hop. Compared with previous generations, Generation X is more likely to embrace social diversity in culture, religion, race, gender identity and sexual orientation. They are also less likely to idolise leaders and are more likely to work toward long term change in the system. Also, according to Census Data Gen X members hold the highest education levels compared to other age groups.

The Millennial Generation are described as having birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. This generations is also known as “Generation Me” and members of this group have been described as being slightly entitled and narcissistic compared to other generations. However, some of the positive traits of this generation include being open-minded and liberal in regard to cultural and social issues. They are also less likely to practice organised religion and are more likely to be sceptical of religious institutions.

What You Need to Know About Appealing to These Generations

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If you are looking to target Generation X, consider that they are old enough to have children of their own and they are busy family people. They are likely to be educated to a post-secondary level and they likely live in a two-income household. They enjoy dining out and they have the disposable income to spend on a restaurant meal, so they are likely to pay a little more for quality as long as they get good value for their money. Another trait of this generation is that they like to see their food being prepared, so open kitchens are certainly a positive feature at a restaurant.

Generation X is attracted to authenticity and unique concepts and atmosphere and design will appeal to them. They want to eat healthy, but they also like to occasionally indulge – so a menu with both possibilities will appeal to them. A children’s menu will also be a plus for when members of this generation are dining with their families.

Millennials are slightly younger and at a different stage in their life, so they might not have children of their own. Dining out for them is about socialising, treating themselves and being seen. Restaurants that take the social aspect of eating out into consideration will appeal to this generation, so consider how you would accommodate large groups and allow for interaction and conversation. The atmosphere of the restaurant should be fresh, casual, welcoming and social – never too prim, proper or stuffy.

Another way to appeal to Millennials is to use technology. Having a smartphone app for your restaurant will be an advantage and offering strong Wi-Fi is essential. Social media marketing will be the most effective way to reach members of this generation. You can also encourage your Millennial guests to share photos of their food on their Instagram and Facebook profiles by offering them a reward such as a discount or a free drink if they upload to a certain hashtag.

These are just a few important factors to consider when you are contemplating how to appeal to Millennials and Generation X, so that you can tap into the patronage of these valuable generations.