In Part 1 of Marketing Your Restaurant to Different Generations, you learned what each generation valued in a restaurant. If you didn't get a chance to read Part One you can check it out here. Now that we know what sets each generation apart, how can your restaurant market to each generation to increase sales!
Though often overlooked by many industries, Millennials are changing the way people make purchasing decisions. They're buying power will increase and they will eventually surpass the boomers as the most influencial generation. Here are some great ways to market to the Millennial generation.
Encourage word-of-mouth recommendations- According to National Restaurant Association Millennials value the recommendations of their friends and family. To encourage word-of-mouth recommendations try having customers download your app. Once the app is downloaded, give them the ability to share it with friends. If a friend downloads the app give the original customer a discount or reward.
Highlight your social responsibility - As per Conserve Millennials are responsible and philanthropic. They prefer to use brands that offer sustainability and gives back to the community. Try to partner with local community organizations. You can share information and photos of the sponsorship using email, social media, and on-premise technology.
Provide an experience-This generation loves creativity, fresh ideas, and innovation. From the onsite experience through the digital experience, try to think outside of the box. Provide an experience, not just food! Consider changing the menu often until you find what works. Keep the favorites and continue to update the other selections. Next Restaurants recommends using iPads or digital signage if you're concerned about the cost to reprint menus.
Engage with Video - In addition to frequently changing the menu, try posting videos about what made you choose the ingredients in the new menu selections. These videos can have a professional voice over and can be shared on your website, social media, and via email.
Generation Xers, a generation almost as involved in technology as the Millennials. This is a generation now around their 40's. They're looking to have fun with family and friends when they go out to dine and they do love delivery. Let's review how to market to this group!
Make coupons available - This generation loves to use coupons according to WordStream. Since savings are a concern for this generation, they are motivated by saving money if possible. In addition to offering coupons, try to create simple loyalty punch cards.
Send birthday emails - Consider sending a birthday email to the people of this generation. Not only will they be getting their fill of coupons, but they will feel appreciated and special. Keeping a database of customers birthdays and anniversaries is a feature of most modern day POS systems.
Group Atmosphere - Generation Xers are looking for a fun and upbeat atmosphere according to Nestle. The overhead music played at your restaurant should be upbeat, but at low enough volume that it encourages conversation. Don't forget to adjust your restaurant's menu to assure that it has shareable options available.
Baby Boomers & Traditionalists
The Baby Boomer and Traditionalist generations are big on the manners of your staff. They want to be treated with respect. And when they are, they will be loyal to your establishment. These two generations are the most loyal to their employees and have been are know for being loyal to many institutions and brands throughout their life, so keep this in mind when marketing to these two groups!
Create a Brand Loyalty Program- Since the Baby Boomer and Traditionalist generations are known for their loyalty, when they like a brand or company they will continue to use it until given a reason not too. It's in your restaurant's best interest to offer a loyalty program to cater to this large group. According to Gordon Food Service 32% of Baby Boomers choose a restaurant based on deals. Even if it is a simple punch card! Baby Boomers or Traditionalists who like your place will continue to do business there, so give them a reason to continue coming back.
Invest in a simple IVR- Baby Boomers and Traditionalists want a friendly, cheerful experience. You don't want a busy hostess sitting people and taking reservations at the same time. There is a simple way to avoid the front-of-house dilemma - create an IVR. Have an IVR for when callers first call in. Something that gives the options for making a reservation, wanting to take a tour of the property for a special event, and calling in about a complaint. You can then have the callers route to the specific person's extension who would handle the concern for the call. Instituting an IVR will allow your hostess to be a hostess and not an operator. Since both these generations value respect and manners, having the hostess be present and uninterrupted will go a long way to earning their loyalty becoming regulars.
Keep it Familiar - They want to indulge in food they are familiar with. They are willing to try new things, but want to stay within their comfort zone. Try adding items to your menu that reflect things that these two generations have grown up with. Don't be too extravagant with your menu if you're trying to appeal to these two generations.
As a restaurant you can't always appeal to everyone. Knowing what each generation values can help you pick and choose different marketing tactics that would appeal to all generations. For example, utilizing a loyalty discount can appeal to Millennials, Generation Xers, Baby Boomers, and Traditionalists. When instituting new marketing plans consider your current audience and where you'd like to grow that audience.