If you want to make it in the branded, casual dining restaurant, pub and bar scene then you have to be switched on to the demands and needs of millennials, according to the latest insights from CGA Peach. Not only do they eat and drink out more often than any other age group, they are also more loyal to the operators and groups that give them what they are looking for. Drinks suppliers and producers that can bring those brands closer to millennials are particularly well placed to succeed.
They may on paper have the least money to spend on eating and drinking out, but for millennials it is also about enjoying the experience and being a key factor in their social life, says new CGA Peach research.
We talk a lot about needing to target millennials more effectively if we are going to succeed in the premium on-trade, be it as drinks producers, suppliers, buyers or those on the front line providing the kind of food and drink offers that the younger generation would be interested in going to. But do we really know what they want or understand the trigger points that are going to excite and inspire the millennial generation to pick our products or on-trade outlet over another?
Well CGA Peach hopes to give some answers in its latest report, Looking for Tomorrow’s Growth report, which it has produced alongside Barclaycard. It looks precisely at what makes millennials tick in the on-trade.
Even in a lengthy report it can only really scratch the surface, but is worth careful assessment as it concludes the millennial generation is “more engaged with eating and drinking out than any other in history”.
- 57% eat out at least weekly, and a third at least three times a week.
- up to a half of all adult eating out occasions are made up by millennialls.
- a third spend £100 or more a month on food out of home—compared to fewer than one in five of those aged 55-plus.
- this compares to 32% of those aged 55 and 41% for those aged 35 to 54.
- appealing to consumers who are willing to eat out on a regular basis is where CGA believes the on-trade should be focusing its time and money as there is such a long tail of people who are infrequent diners, with as much as six out of 10 only eating out once a month.
The report claims that only 15% of all customers are brand loyal, but as they account for 30% of all traffic then they are vitally important to on-trade operators. For millennials this can reach as high as 40% again emphasising how important they are in the success of the on-trade.
Need to be smart
To connect to them means being smart and online. We don’t need CGA to tell us that millennials live on their smartphones and are dictated to by social media, but if we want to stand a chance of being seen or heard by millennials then we need to be listening and talking to them through those channels.
Millennials now expect to be able to talk to restaurants, bars, pubs and drinks producers through their favoured social media channels and woe betide those not capable of replying or acting on what they have to say. They are, as CGA bluntly puts it “a demanding bunch”.
They want to be, literally, first in line to new openings and on top of the latest trends and will gravitate towards those able to help them do so.
As CGA says “millennials love to discover new experiences”.
One in four consider themselves to be among the first to visit new eating and drinking brands, compared to only 5% of the over-55s.
They are also more likely to turn to friends and family for recommendations on what is good and new to go to. More than a third, twice as many as the over 55 age group, say they actively seek out information about new places to go to from what they see as reliable sources, be it their peers or through social media channels.
But that does not mean they are not brand loyal and if they tap in to the right offer then they will quite happily go back for more. You only have to look at the queues outside the likes of The Breakfast Club, Franca Manca and Meat Liquor to see that.
It’s all about being loyal to those that give them a great experience, stresses CGA. In fact they are more brand loyal than other age groups. Give them the right food and drink offer in the right environment and they will come back for more. So it isn’t rocket science.
But as CGA points out it makes long term sense to get your millennial offer spot on: “It’s much harder than it sounds to pull off, of course, but brands that get it right are in great shape for the years ahead. Millennials will carry their habits and loyalty into later life—and reaching them now is the big win for all operators.”
If drinks suppliers and producers want to find a cutting edge with leading casual dining, restaurant and bar groups then any advice they can give to help operators persuade new customers to give them a try, or find ways to bring back lacked users and turn occasional customers into loyal ones, will be welcomed with open arms.
Seven key habits of millennials in the on-trade
CGA Peach picks out seven key trends it believes drive millennial behaviour:
1 Early adopters Millennials want to discover new tastes and experiences
2 Social animals Use of social media is one of the biggest single differentiators between millennials and older generations. Facebook
and Twitter are still their most popular platforms, but at least a third use Instagram and SnapChat.
3 Free spenders Despite earning potentially less than older age groups, millennials are less likely to cite value for money as a factor in their eating out choices.
4 Healthy eaters Millennials are very driven and motivated by the health choices available to them when eating and drinking out and are actively looking for chains and restaurants that have a focus on clean, nutritional food.
5 Brand recommenders They are very influenced by recommendations on social media and keen to share their views and place a high high value on what their peers think. They are more likely than other generations to stay away from a brand because they have heard bad things about it.
6 Fun seekers Experience when eating out is very important to millennials who are looking for venues that are ‘fun’, ‘cool’ and ‘exciting’. Despite their interest in craft and artisan products they also under-index on factors such as ‘reliable’ and ‘honest’ and ‘tradition’.
7 Fast movers Millennials latch on to new trends and operators very quickly. It does not make them disloyal to other venues, they are just keen to be seen to going to the latest happening place in town. “Brand awareness, adoption and rejection have all been speeded up by technology, and given even more impetus by mobile,” says CGA Peach.