A Profile of the Millennial Diner

Millennials, also known as Generation Y and typically defined as those born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s, are the largest and most influential generation since the baby boomers. Comprising nearly one-third of the U.S. population, millennials are a highly diverse, tech-savvy group with impressive purchasing power.

Luckily for restaurants, this generation loves to eat out, try new food and share their experience with friends and family. Restaurants that make an effort to truly understand millennial food trends and their spending habits can better appeal to this generation.

Diverse and Unique

As one of the most ethnically and racially diverse generations, millennial Americans are a globally-focused group that places value on diverse cultural experiences. A Nielsen study found that 71 percent of millennials appreciate the influence of different cultures, which can be directly translated to their dining habits.

As food is often a reflection of culture, millennials enjoy exploring new flavors and experiencing all that different types of cuisine have to offer. We see this both in the popularity of authentic ethnic dishes and in popular culture combinations such as taco burgers and Korean BBQ.

Health Conscious

Millennials place a strong emphasis on health and well-being, which comes through in their food choices. Millennials are more likely than other generations to buy organic food and specifically seek out dishes advertising fresh, natural ingredients.

Partly at the request of millennials, more restaurants are catering to special diets with gluten-free and dairy-free options. In addition, many diners visit vegetarian or vegan restaurants – even if they otherwise eat meat or other animal products.

Tech-Savvy and Social

Millennials love technology, and their reliance on it cannot be taken lightly. For this generation, the Internet and social media are often the first stop when searching for restaurant recommendations. And on the flipside, millennials often use their smartphones to “check in” to restaurant locations on platforms like Swarm (previously Foursquare) and Facebook and share their dining experiences on Twitter and Instagram. In fact, 42 percent of millennial diners have posted a photo of their food – either their own dish or a fellow diner’s – on social media.

Additionally, millennials are always looking to use technology to make everyday tasks easier. They gravitate toward tech tools such mobile payments and online ordering, which simplify their interactions with businesses.

Millennials should not be ignored. They will continue to shape the future of restaurants, and by appealing to millennials, restaurants can tap into the immense purchasing power of this generation.

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