Marketing to Millennials: How to Stand Out

If you want your restaurant to be wildly successful, you'll have to embrace the idea of marketing to millennials. Millennials, people who were born approximately between 1980 and 2000, make up about 25 percent of the population, according to Restaurant Marketing Labs. This tech-savvy generation spends a lot of time online and on their mobile devices, which restaurants can take advantage of. Here are some more details on how you can market your business toward millennials to boost your bottom line.

Know What Millennials Love

One way to shift your focus toward the millennial market is to get more creative in terms of your menu, design, and even your staff appearance or behavior. According to the National Restaurant Association, millennials "prefer to eat at restaurants with a lot of choices and lower price points. They tend to favor fast food, deli food, and pizza restaurants over coffee shops, high-end dining, and casual dining. Their diversity and interest in new things draw them to more ethnic restaurants, too." While this doesn't mean you need to drop everything at your fine-dining restaurant, it does mean that you could try to switch up some of your protocol to lure millennials in.

Tell a Remarkable Story

Any way you can incorporate storytelling into your restaurant will have an impact on your level of attractiveness to millennials. Some restaurants emphasize the farms they source ingredients from, and others focus on the people, techniques, and training behind the dishes and recipes they offer. The bottom line is that you shouldn't be afraid to share. Let your customers know why you chose to pursue the culinary arts. Let them know the how. When you allow your customers to connect with you, they'll also connect with your food.

Don't Skimp

Millennials value generosity, and if you give things away in exchange for positive online reviews and word-of-mouth referrals, you'll cultivate a loyal following that will build over time. Nurture your most vocal repeat customers with extra-attentive service, comped desserts, tastes of off-the-menu dishes, and free cocktails. This will ingrain positive sentiment into these customers. Mastering how to turn customers into brand advocates is something every chef and restaurateur should strive to achieve.

Take Advantage of Social Media

To reach millennials, your restaurant should take advantage of social media. Whoever is running it should also have a basic understanding of how to use hashtags, and know how to use Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook. Just make sure to come across as authentic, and try not to oversell your business.

If you photograph dishes yourself, use a high-quality camera or hire a professional food photographer. Millennials are big on "eating with their eyes," which is where the term "food porn" stemmed from. Make sure your plates look interesting, and highlight bright colors to enhance how appetizing your food appears.

Creativity, storytelling, and social media are just a few pillars of strategy when marketing to millennials. By shifting your focus toward this economically powerful group, you'll put your restaurant in position to be successful and profitable for the long-term.

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