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Diverse Millennials Look For Variety and Value in Restaurant Food

We have reported earlier that the Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y, or the Now Generation, chooses restaurants based on word of mouth advertising, banking on the opinions of their friends and family about a particular eating place. Now, here’s a recent report showing that they have other bases in choosing restaurants, with menu variety and value topping the list.

These demographic, diners between ages 18 to 29, which totals to about 52 million, are known to be firm food enthusiasts, and is reportedly seen to shape the future of the food service industry.

Y-Pulse LLC, a consulting and research firm based in Chicago, made a survey of 315 millennial consumers and learned that they prefer eating at dining places that has a lot of menu options on their menu board or menu folders, and lower price points. They favor fast food joints and pizza restaurants than coffee shops, high-end, or fast casual dining places.

They consider other factors, too — excellent customer service, proximity to their workplace or home, and the existence of loyalty coupons and discounts. When asked regarding restaurant menu and culinary characteristics, the respondents stated that they choose the restaurant to visit based on the kind of food that they want to eat, and that they look for dining places that has a wide array of food items on their menu board or outstanding menu folders. Other menu and culinary aspects of a restaurant that they consider are free drink refills, to-go options, a selection of organic and healthful food on the menu, as well as ethnic food choices.

Ethnic menu choices surfaced as one of the important aspects that millennials consider, in line with a separate study that the NPD Group has made. The NPD Group, one of America’s leading market research group based in Port Washington, New York, recently released a report entitled “Reaching the Millennial Generation,” which said that immigration will cause this age group to get bigger and become more diverse. Only 61% of millennials are white – the rest of the 39% are African American, Hispanic or Asian. Adults, those who are 30 or older, has 71% white, and 29% are black, Hispanic or Asian.

Restaurants are advised to think of ways to come up with a wider menu variety. Dayparts that cater to this generation could also be considered, as these consumers tend to snack in-between meals than the other age-groups.

“Millennials are now becoming restaurant aficionados, and this is the right time to reach out to them and develop their loyalty,” said Bonnie Riggs, report author and restaurant analyst of NPD. “Restaurants should understand that unlike baby-boomers, they are not a one-size-fits-all group – they have diverse, varied needs and wants.”

This group accounted for 13 billion of the 59 billion restaurant visits that has been recorded in 2010, and collectively, they have spent an overall total of $73 billion. Forecasts are being seen that millennials will soon outnumber the generation of the baby boomers—now estimated to be at 70 million—in the next ten years.