Yair Ariel • April-4-2017
Millennials – they are often described as the most influential and largest consuming power the economy has ever seen, but how can businesses market and appeal to Millennial Parents?
How can Quick Service Restaurants Appeal to Millennial Parents?
For the past several years brands have been focused on their traits of quality consciousness and social savvy to tailor marketing strategies. But the penny hasn’t yet dropped on the fact that Millennials are no longer “single”. A large percentage of them have independent families. They are living with children who are just as important to them as they were to their Boomer parents.
Parenthood has impacted the preferences and tendencies of Millennials. Their value system has evolved and they are invested in providing the best possible upbringing to their offsprings.
There are 10.8 million Millennial households with kids. 80% of all births in the U.S are happening to older Millennial Parents.
Quick Service Restaurants are already struggling with a perception revamp. They no longer want to come off as “cheap” and “unhealthy”. They wish to turn into joints of wholesome family fun.
And keeping in mind the exponential growth in the population of Millennial Parents that is imminent over the next decade, it is important to scrutinize what these individuals consider important to introduce aligned measures.
Here’s what Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) can do to get in the good books of Millennial buyers.
Caveat: Don’t Think Millennial Parents aren’t Keeping Track of Expenses
Unattached Millennials do consider “quality” as the primary driver of decisions. But as soon as they have children, the focus shifts to pricing. In fact original research by Barkley shows that where luxuries like eating out, entertainment and fashion are concerned, just a little over 30% of Millennials buy on the basis of “quality”. Close to 70% have affordability in mind.
This suggests that sensible pricing and a fresh produce centric menu might just be the balance that resuscitates Quick Service Restaurants.
4 Changes QSRs Need to Make Right Now:
56% of Millennial Parents want Their Children to Excel at Sports
What can QSRs do in this regard? Quite a few things.
Restaurants can add a segment to their menu for “Sports Stars of Tomorrow”. This can include fun and traditional recipes with a modern swapping out of ingredients. For example lean meat burgers can replace the full fat premium beef. Almond milk ice creams with toppings that run the gamut of dessicated coconut, berries and more exotic options like sesame appeal to children and give their Millennial parents a reason to keep coming back.
QSRs can also install play areas with cutting edge programmable Virtual Reality based content to engage little diners. Most Millennial offsprings lead sheltered and secluded lives. Interactions with kids their age is difficult to come by. If they can enjoy physically stimulating games with their peers and develop a sense of team spirit which is a prerequisite for sportsmanship, their guardians might just be willing to return – more for the bonding with other children than for the food. In fact busy kids are also kids who allow their parents to enjoy the outing and rewind in their own way.
More Than 13 Million Millennials Like to Grow Their Own Food
According to First Research young people aged 18 to 34 years (when they are more likely to embrace parenthood) are proponents of sustainability and healthy eating. Quick Service Restaurants can breathe easy because this points to the conclusion that clean recipes will always trump variety.
It is not necessary to develop dozens of signature dishes or reinvent the wheel. If restaurants can lead with claims like:
- Organic and fresh produce
- Generous helpings of vegetables and salads
- Dough conditioner free baked bread
Millennial parents will only be too glad to give them a try and become repeat customers because they will know they are feeding their children healthy and delicious meals without the needed prep work.
Blogs, Communities and Social Media are Top Decision Influencers for 71% of Millennial Parents and 52% of Them are Willing to Share Private Information in Return for Perks
Millennials are a social bunch. And apparently their appetite for online content sharpens with parenthood. QSRs can offer this new generation of parents the ability to leave a rating after meals on restaurant supplied iPads and receive redeemable coupons in their inboxes.
This is incentivizing them to become long term customers (remember they are watching their spending contrary to popular beliefs) and establishing a line of contact using which quality information on topics they are passionate about like calorie counting, exercise and clean eating can be dripped.
In essence QSRs need to cultivate a social presence and the persona of authority and authenticity if they want to come across as credible.
50% of Millennial Parents Support Brands That Are Involved with Charitable Causes
Having said that McDonald’s style “donation” boxes that look like forgotten second thoughts are not going to make the cut anymore. In fact any half hearted attempt at social work might miff Millennial parents.
QSRs have to make charitable giving a part of their public image. They can dedicate a day of the week to feeding little league players at discounted rates. They might even have fund raiser months for worthy causes that their patrons care about and hand over the collected sum to representatives of the NGOs supported by the drive.
If Quick Service Restaurants make Millennial parent believe that eating at their joint contributes tangibly to societal good then their code of ethics will automatically persuade them to become repeat diners.
Delicious food, clean aisles and courteous service are all givens. Anything less and a QSR stands no chance of staying in business. But bonuses like a green approach, charitable giving, appealing ambience and healthy recipes can still count as “wow” factors that turn the tide in the favor of Quick Service joints.
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