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National Restaurant Association - Signature '17 looks at millennials, future of purchasing

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Signature '17 looks at millennials, future of purchasing

Amazon Business' Dan Park and NRA CEO Dawn Sweeney

Our CEO Dawn Sweeney met up with Jason Dorsey, an expert on millennials, and Dan Park, general manager of Amazon Business, at NRA Show 2017 for a long-ranging discussion on purchasing behavior – from the restaurant operator’s perspective and their next generation of customers.

It’s all about customer innovation and championing opportunities, Sweeney said.

A twist on the traditional keynote, Signature ’17 took place May 21 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Sweeney moderated the event, called “Ahead of the Crave”, which featured Q&A sessions with Park and Gen Z/millennial expert Dorsey.

Enhancing the supply chain experience

Park talked about how Amazon Business, which launched in April 2015, makes purchasing supplies easier for the restaurateur. Here's why: 

  • It is more cost effective for operators to purchase supplies through Amazon, according to Park, primarily because of its access to suppliers and manufacturers, the large number of goods it carries and its cost effectiveness.
  • Amazon Business’ primary goals are to “streamline business operations and create amazing guest experiences," says Park. Focusing on customer metrics, Amazon Business works to meet the customers’ needs first.
  • He added that he and Amazon Business are acutely aware that customers expect solutions that are intuitive, easy to implement, cost effective, transparent and reliable.

 “Our [goal] is to give everything you love about Amazon to your business. We love the restaurant business and hope we can be a big part of helping you create success,” Park said.

Forget what you think you know about millennials

Dorsey, a millennial himself, debunked a few myths about his generation’s purchasing behaviors. He told the audience that, basically, everything they’ve heard about millennials is wrong. Why? Because the industry relies heavily on tracking data, and there’s a lack of data on why people make decisions.

Jason Dorsey debunks myths about millennials

“The No. 1 myth that everyone thinks about millennials is that they are broke, but we are the No. 1 generation in the U.S. workforce,” he said. “There are more of us working today than any other generation, and our generation will outspend any other in restaurants today.”

He also shared some other insights. According to Dorsey:

  • Millennials are not necessarily tech savvy. Instead, they are tech dependent. “My generation doesn’t know how tech works. They just know they can’t live without it.”
  • Millennials crave experience. They want unique and special experiences and are happy to spend money to get them, he said.
  • Millennials want their experiences to be more visual. That’s why it’s so important to make websites more visual and engage in social media.

Once you meet their needs, however, Dorsey said millennials are extremely loyal customers. “Once we establish our loyalty, we are the No. 1 generation to refer people to a restaurant.”

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