What Millennials Expect from Fast Casuals

What Millennials Expect from Fast Casuals

The fast casual sector of the restaurant industry has continued to gain popularity over the past few years by focusing its strategic efforts on appealing to a specific demographic: Millennials. Leading analysts show that these young adults in their early 20’s and 30’s account for 25% of the total U.S population and a whopping 51% of total fast casual sales. Simply put, fast casuals would be remiss not to tailor their offerings to a demographic with this much buying power.

So what is it that millennials look for when choosing which fast casual to go to?

Tech-savvy and convenient
The average millennial spends at least 5 hours per day on their smart phone.  Many fast casuals have already capitalized on this statistic by creating apps that allow orders to be placed directly on the customer’s phone.  These apps not only allow for easy ordering, they also securely store a customer’s credit card information.  By eliminating the step of physically handing over cash or swiping a credit card, the customer experiences a pseudo sense of not having spent money with this form of “blind payment.”  It’s fast, efficient, and helps enforce an overall positive buying experience for the customer.

Quick order retrieval is also crucial in creating a positive experience for millennials due to their “need it now” mentality.  Designated areas set aside for orders placed on the restaurant’s app are well-suited for a demographic with little patience, who always seem to be strapped for time.

Modern Design
Social media captures life experiences through idyllic imagery and storytelling.  So, for millennials devoting many hours per day to social media, presentation is key.  It is important for the interiors and exteriors of fast casual restaurants to appeal to their idyllically trained eyes whether they are quickly picking up a pre-ordered meal or are dining-in.  Compelling menu item images, crisp color schemes, and trendy decor help to build confidence in the customer that the food will taste good even before they take their first bite.

Healthy and Diversified Menu
Millennials like the ability to eat on-the-go and feel like they have healthy options from which to choose.  Organic ingredients, seasonal dishes, and unique menu offerings provided by local producers help build customer loyalty and will set you apart from the competition.

Incorporating the above elements are all important in appealing to this unique demographic, but the ability to move fast is paramount.  The demands of millennials are rapidly changing so being nimble and staying current in the minds of this powerful group of young adults will help to ensure continued success for years to come.