How to Market to Millennials: The Restaurant Edition

Millennials have officially entered the buzzword list of terms that every brand and marketer wants to target. Naturally, even restaurants want a big slice of this target market.

And there’s a ton of data to support this trend:

Modern Restaurant Management says that millennials spend an average of 10.6% more at restaurants than any other generation.

According to Morgan Stanley, India will have 410 million millennials, who will spend $330 billion annually, by 2020

This means if you’re a restaurant, targeting this audience should be your utmost priority.

Here’s an example of how one of the top restaurant chains is already doing it:

Taco Bell went ahead to study the lingo of millennials (the words and slangs they use daily) and also use it in their communication. Their CEO even shared a plan of setting up a committee that keeps them updated with the latest trends in this consumer segment.

Wondering how you should approach millennials? In this post, we’re breaking down everything from their characteristics to the exact steps you need, to market to millennials.

Who are millennials?

While there has been a lot of discussion on the exact age group of this segment, consensus was on eighteen to the mid-thirties. This means that they include a major chunk of chief wage earners. In India, they make up 47% in the working age population.

Millennials are also the largest demographic group in India and globally.

Millennials sitting in a restaurant

Here are a few characteristics they’re usually described by:

  • High levels of disposable income
  • Digitally connected individuals
  • Self-expressive multitaskers
  • Technology-friendly

Further, they share what they love. In fact, 90% of millennials share their brand preferences online and according to Adweek, 38% of millennials said brands are more trustworthy when they use social rather than traditional advertising. This means they’re not easily fooled and would require smart marketing efforts from the restaurant’s end.

How to make millennials buy from you

Reach their doorsteps

Kebab Xpress Website
Having your website makes your restaurant more accessible to customers

Millennials want everything at a tap and click. Your restaurant should be delivery-friendly and taking online orders, to appeal to millennials. You can register on third-party applications for this or even better have your own systems to reach these customers directly and avoid high-commissions.

Speak their language

Yas, TBT, on fleek, slay, ICYMI, Netflix and chill – these are just some of the terms from the millennial dictionary. They use this everyday. If you want to appeal to them, you need to talk like them.

Now the question arises – how can you adapt it to your restaurant’s strategy? Well here are some ideas to begin with –

  • Use this lingo in your social media communication, whether it’s creating specific posts or just inserting small references in your captions. Talk millennial!
  • Adopt some of these terms and concepts in your restaurant, IRL. It can be through posters, wall art, in your menu and other collaterals.
  • You can even involve these terms in your offers and promos to get instant attention. They make great content for SMS or Email marketing

Promotion through Influencers: their new trusted friend

Compared to celebrities and brands, millennials trust ‘digital creators and influencers’ a lot more. They tend to order from places these influencers hang out on or recommend. Here’s some statistical evidence:

Millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts; they are 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites.

This happens because they have a long-term online relation with them.

The best way to reach out to millennials are these influencers. Some cases where you can do your promotion through them include:

  • During a new outlet launch
  • While running contests or promoting new offers
  • When launching a new set of menu items
  • During festivals or peak celebration times

Highlight your social responsibility

Biryani by Kilo highlighting its social responsibility program

One of the behavioural highlights of millennials is that they care for the right causes. If you’re a socially responsible business, you’ve a high possibility of being in their hot list of restaurants. Ways to be socially responsible can be anything from – employing differently-abled staff to supporting charities and NGOs with monetary or non-monetary benefits.

Catch them with technology

From offering free wifi at your restaurant to a seamless checkout process on your online ordering system – technology can enhance the entire restaurant workflow. And this is what millennials like – a transparent, fast and seamless dining experience.

Some technology advancements you can adopt:

  • Self-ordering kiosks
  • Online reservations
  • Digital payment/receipt options
  • Face Recognition software
  • Loyalty programs
  • Real-time order tracking

Make their entire experience with you quick and memorable. That’s how you make an impression that stays.

Win them with loyalty

Berco's Loyalty Program
Berco’s Loyalty Program

Once you’ve caught millennial attention through technology and great service, it’s important to retain them with loyalty. 44% of millennials say they are more loyal to restaurant brands than before. And 30% of millennials plan to sign up for every loyalty program.

Rewards whether in terms of discounts on their offers or advantages like ‘cutting the queue – work really well in catching their interest.

Millennials like to try new things

Are you bringing the hottest food trends or technology innovations in the industry to your restaurant? Millennials love that. They enjoy trying new things and exploring new trends. Whether it’s a food item or the convenience of ordering in or dessert parlours – try them out and see millennials flocking around for more.

Ready for a Millennial-friendly restaurant marketing?

While millennials keep exploring new things, their behaviour patterns are easy to recognise and handy for capturing the market. Restaurants fit the millennial lifestyle and there has never been a better time to focus your marketing efforts on this audience.

We hope this post helped you in understanding them and building your own strategy. Have something to share with us on this topic? Drop it in the comments.

Niharika Maggo

Niharika Maggo

Niharika is a Content Marketer at LimeTray. When she’s not busy wearing down the keys on her keyboard, she's found listening to podcasts, reading or drinking tea. She can be reached at