Defending America’s Favorite Target: Millennial Diners
I get it. Us millennials with social media, paper straws, misuse of the word “literally,” craft beer, hipster ‘dos and dress, and historic ability to accumulate debt are that infamous horsepill of a generation sandwiched between Generation X and Gen Z.
Yet I find myself on a bit of a crusade when I examine something specific about millennials: culinary impact. So, here it goes. I stand defiantly with a plume in hand and foolhardy task in heart: Defend the indefensible millennial generation and define our true culinary ethos.
What is the millennial generation’s true culinary ethos? We want more out of our dining experience, one that reflects our collective values: quality of food ingredients, cultural diversity, aesthetically pleasing and authentic delivery. We are a sophisticated culinary population imploring an industry to be even better. That’s it. Summed up. Article over.
Wait, let me explain.
Quality of ingredients and tastes reigns supreme. We aren’t dining in social media-viral droves without a picture worth a thousand taste buds.
Caroline Schutz, 30, an industry veteran with Consumers Packing Co., says, “I pick a restaurant if it is known for good food. I definitely think the quality of ingredients and taste are most important.” Simple enough stuff.
If the plate ain’t sizzling with stylish flavors while fetching a pose for Instagram, please don’t expect a repeat customer.
“I want to go to a place that speaks to the culture of a city,” says Adam Amin, 32, a play-by-play broadcaster for ESPN. He travels coast to coast several times a month, often receiving dining recommendations from college coaches, players and locals.
We love to immerse ourselves in wherever we are. Food, as the anchor to social situations, brings people to distant cultures with flavors, smells, style, customs and language.
“I definitely think [millennials] care about what the restaurant looks like,” Schutz explains. “From the lights on the ceiling to copper bullets in the bar, neon lights, cheeky things on the wall that change out, tire swings in the bar, or a tiki-style bar with drinks with a sparkler.”
Like our pictures, we need interesting, different, like-worthy and rustic. Don’t ever forget rustic.
(Also, are you in the right neighborhood? Part of the scene? Bonus points.)
Authentically delivering on your experience is the glue that holds it together. From food integrity to representing your cuisine to service experience, millennials have this superhuman knack for noticing a veneer of honesty.
Important to Schutz is an educated and trained waitstaff. It means they care about the customer’s dining experience, not eyeing the shift clock.
Going as far as “when you get up to go to the bathroom, and they fold your napkin,” Schutz explains. Those little touches go for miles in the hearts of millennials.
So here I stand, still defending our desire for good, healthy food, a wonderful atmosphere to eat said food, cultural appreciation, and honest service.
How dare we ask for these things.