Marketing Your Restaurant to Millennials

Man eating burger

Born between 1977 and 1992, millennials make up 20 percent of the Canadian population. And with a collective spending power of $17 billion and growing, it’s a demographic worthy of serious attention. Before you start marketing to them, it’s important to understand who they are, and what drives their choice in restaurants and restaurant menus.

Who Are the Millennials? 

Millennials have grown up in a 24/7 world in which the Internet plays a large part. Social media has granted them a two-way conversation with restaurants. Because of that, they expect to be part of a brand’s narrative and they demand more from the foodservice industry.Their philosophy toward dining out stands them apart from older generations like Gen X and boomers. They actively seek out menu items they can customize, food and beverage that satisfy their cravings, group settings or shareable menus, and new or unique food experiences.Although it sounds like it might be challenging to cater to their demands, it’s not. Understanding millennials unlocks the door to successful marketing.

How Do You Market to Millennials? 

Millennials are looking for four key aspects when dining out:

Brand immersion.

By incorporating relevant, visual elements into overall messaging, millennials are more likely to make an emotional connection with your restaurant. Brands that find a way to connect with their consumers’ lifestyles – in both online and offline forums – stand the best chance to attract millennial diners to their operations. 

Seamless positioning.

Creating a connection between mobile applications, the dining experience, and online marketing allows millennials to connect with a guest experience that suits their needs, and keeps your business top-of-mind. Use mobile applications to offer specials and promotions to keep diners coming back again and again. 


The ability to design their own dish, as well as their own experience, is a major draw. From a make-your-own burger menu option, to a weekend brunch bloody Mary bar, how you market your menu to millennials makes a big difference. Beyond what’s printed on your menu, offering them a variety of customizable experiences gives them satisfaction beyond what’s served on the plate. 

Your menu.

60 to 70 percent of millennials say that appealing flavours are among the most important factors when selecting a restaurant. Though globally-inspired cuisine generally holds the most appeal, putting modern spins on established comfort foods, and satisfying their “snacking” lifestyle, can easily offer something unique from your operation. 

Better-for-you options are also another way to attract diners. Driven mainly by a combination of affordable prices and fresh, high quality food, more than 84 percent of millennial consumers stated that the freshness of the food was likely to influence them.

You don’t need to be a trendy gastropub, nor do you need to reinvent your menu to appeal to this demographic. Many of the attributes the millennial generation is searching for are already within your grasp. You simply need to find your brand and your voice, and stick to it.

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