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National Restaurant Association - 3 tips to engage millennial guests

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3 tips to engage millennial guests

Create a sense of authenticity, transparency and community to attract millennials to your restaurant, says food culture expert Eve Turow Paul.

Paul, who’ll discuss Culture in the Digital Age at this year’s Marketing Executives Group conference in Chicago, says restaurants that cultivate a personal connection with their guests and offer some control over the dining experience will be more successful. The prevalence of technology and social media in society has led to two interesting developments: people  feel more isolated from their communities and believe they have less control over certain aspects of their lives. That’s why they want to know where their food comes from and how it’s crafted, she says.

Successful restaurants create a value system people want to be associated with, Paul says. Millennials want to support local farmers and artisans and become their loyal customers, she adds. For example, restaurants can communicate honesty by being transparent with their guests about exactly what’s in their food – and what’s not.

Millennials want to patronize restaurants that offer something they care about, Paul says. That includes everything from ingredients to marketing content. Millennials want to develop meaningful connections because they’re overwhelmed by the massive amount of information they receive – on their phones, over social media and in their email. Restaurants must deliver messages that resonate with millennials if they intend to grow.

She advises these three rules when developing marketing content:

  1. Explain how you source your food. Tell stories about the farmers you work with and the artisans who create your pastries and chocolates. Millennials want to know how everything is made.
     
  2. Focus on anything that makes them feel like they can trust the food. Show them authenticity because they think disinformation is occurring.
     
  3. Share stories of your employees, and make them personal. Millennials are curious about who works in your restaurants and the jobs they perform.

“Young people have mastered scrolling through [content], but when they see something that’s relevant, they’ll stop and read it. It’s all about creating clear value for them.”

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