I woke up the last couple of mornings to some articles in my inbox about doom and gloom in the casual dining industry. My business serves this market, and a failing industry can negatively affect my company.
I’m not all that concerned. First, read these articles, and then I’ll explain.
The first article is from Business Insider. It makes the case that Millennials are cost-conscious and disinterested in what casual dining has to offer. It gives trends like eating at home, take-out, and fast-casual chains serving a price-conscious, impatient market.
While there is truth to this argument, I believe it has missed the most important factor affecting the casual dining market, and Carissa Lintao from The Next Web gets it.
Where Millennials spend their money is about fashion and expression…not time and price.
Restaurants…and all businesses…must provide a unique, shareable experience that helps the Millennial consumer tell a story about who they are. We live in a world where one’s style can be expressed to a mass audience with the sharing of a photo. Where Millennials spend their money is about fashion and expression…not time and price.
Now…as a Millennial, business owner, and someone who serves the food and service industry…here is my advice.
First…Don’t cut costs on areas that contribute to experience. If you are selling me on this…
Don’t let me see this when I walk into the bathroom…
Second…Don’t blame the market for not wanting your product. It sends the message that you are not for us. We will find another place to go.
Third…Don’t fake it or phone it in. We sense disingenuousness better than any other generation.
Finally…Now matter how big you are…don’t rule out feel in brand and experience creation. Put people in charge who are members of the demographic you are trying to serve. They will naturally lead you towards an experience and product they actually want for themselves.
“Feel” is so important in the food industry…the service industry. Ignoring this fact is dangerous.
As I said earlier, I am not concerned about our customers going out of business. These are large organizations led and made up by smart individuals. It may be painful, but they are going to figure out how to pivot and deliver a product the market wants.
As for me, we will keep creating the best service experience we can because helpful, happy, positive people always win in the end.