Restaurants Are Still on Millennials' Menu

CHICAGO — Although restaurant visits overall have declined in the past few years, Millennials continue to be heavy users. For the year ended in June, Millennials made 14 billion visits to foodservice locations, which translated to $95 billion in spending, according to new research from The NPD Group.

Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of Millennial visits go to traditional quick-service restaurants (QSRs) as opposed to fast-casual restaurants, which are perceived to have enhanced service and higher-quality food than QSRs, NPD noted. 

Millennials did increase their visits to fast-casual restaurants in the year ended in June, but this figure still fell short compared to visits to traditional QSRs.

Restaurants and other foodservice establishments are specifically targeting those in the 18- to 34-year-old Millennial group because they will be the fastest growing of all the demographics during the next 10 years. The Millennial group also can be highly influential in building or destroying a business thanks to their social-media savvy.

"What Millennials may lack in buying power they make up in influence," said Bonnie Riggs, NPD's restaurant industry analyst. "They have expectations when they dine out and are quick to spread the word when their expectations are or aren’t met."

To increase visits from Millennials, restaurant operators need to meet their needs, and that includes providing a unique dining experience and great service, said Riggs.

"Price promotions, coupons and loyalty programs — they want to be rewarded for their loyalty — can also be useful in encouraging more visits from this influential group," she added. 

The NPD Group, based in Chicago, provides global information and advisory services to drive better business decisions.

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