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Creating Appetite Appeal for Millennials

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How the fast food industry should cater to Millennial customers

Millennials tend to frown over the traditional fast food chains and opt for fast casual brands such as Chipotle, Au Bon Pain, Five Guys Burgers and Panera Bread. Based on a study by Brand Keys, these consumers place a heavy emphasis on high- quality ingredients, trustworthiness and interior design. The following tool kit will detail five initiatives that can help drive greater affinity from Millennials and help shift the purchase behaviour balance within the fast food segment. http://www.sld.com

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Creating Appetite Appeal for Millennials

  1. 1. August | 2015 Tool Kit Creating appetite appeal for Millennials How the fast food industry should cater to Millennial customers
  2. 2. | Fast Food and Millennials | Tool Kit | August 10, 2015 2 introduction Think Blink At Shikatani Lacroix, we design compelling at-purchase moments that connect in the blink of an eye. Our philosophy and strategic design approach, Think Blink, is driven by a consumer’s motivation to make a purchase decision. Everything we do is geared to owning the “at-purchase” moment. Our firm has a well-earned reputation for designing integrated brand experiences that effectively connect brands with consumers to drive measurable results for clients. About the author Jean-Pierre Lacroix, R.G.D., President and Founder of Shikatani Lacroix Jean-Pierre (JP) Lacroix provides leadership and direction to his firm, which was founded in 1990. He has spent the last 30 years helping organizations better connect their brands with consumers in ways that impact the overall performance of their business. In 1990, Mr. Lacroix was the first to coin and trademark the statement “The Blink Factor”, which today is a cornerstone principle for how brands succeed in the marketplace. JP has authored several papers, has been quoted in numerous branding and design articles, and in 2001 he co- authored the book “The Business of Graphic Design” which has sold over 10,000 copies. JP can be reached at jplacroix@sld.com and you can follow his thought leadership webinars at: www.sldesignlounge.com. Copyright @ 2015 by Jean-Pierre Lacroix. All rights reserved. Think Blink, The Blink Factor and Trust Ladder are registered trademarks of Shikatani Lacroix Design Inc.
  3. 3. | Fast Food and Millennials | Tool Kit | August 10, 2015 3 introduction The Millennial generation represents consumers under the age of 35, born after 1980, and they are the biggest generation in US history — even larger than the Baby Boomer population. They are 79 million strong, with spending power estimated to be at $170 billion. This number attracts the attention of any marketer looking for growth. Millennials tend to frown over the traditional fast food chains and opt for fast casual brands such as Chipotle, Au Bon Pain, Five Guys Burgers and Panera Bread. Based on a study by Brand Keys, these consumers place a heavy emphasis on high- quality ingredients, trustworthiness and interior design. The following tool kit will detail five initiatives that can help drive greater affinity from Millennials and help shift the purchase behaviour balance within the fast food segment.
  4. 4. | Fast Food and Millennials | Tool Kit | August 10, 2015 4 part one 1) Create “foodie” experiences worth sharing Millennials are all about exploring and trying new types of foods, and they like sharing these new discoveries with their friends. Fast food chains need to review their menu offerings and consider exploring new types of condiments, sauces or fresh ingredients, and unique seasonal offerings. Also allow Millennials to customize and create their own masterpieces worth sharing with friends. Chains should consider unique offerings such as coffee blends, healthier beverages and foods not typically associated with fast food. Food offerings should also explore sharing options where friends can sample a range of new offerings, which will add to the chatter in both the restaurant and online. 2) Provide greater snacking options Most Millennials do not follow traditional eating patterns and the general day parts as understood by the fast food industry. They are less likely to eat three meals a day but rather substitute meals with snacks. Clients such as Quaker have learned that healthy snacking can be a great lunch alternative for Millennials who are too busy to take a break. Fast food operators will need to consider providing a greater range of healthy snacking options as meal substitutes that fill the gap between a whole meal and an indulgent treat.

  5. 5. | Fast Food and Millennials | Tool Kit | August 10, 2015 5 3) Design lifestyle experiences Millennials are all about sharing with friends and co-workers. Restaurant design needs to reflect the type of sharing experience Millennials gravitate towards, such as Wi-Fi, communal tables, and comfortable couch areas for longer conversations. Food operators also need to think about their physical packaging, as many urban Millennials do not drive, and hence don’t use drive-thru. McDonald’s recently introduced bicycle-friendly packaging to meet the needs of this segment. Watch and see other fast food chains follow. How about a bike drive-thru lane and more bike racks at the exterior? Our client TD Bank realized the importance of bikes and bike racks and started installing these at all urban and suburban branches. In addition, facilities need to be cool, contemporary and comfortable – consider good lighting and décor elements, and eliminate hard seating and uncomfortable booths. Tim Hortons understood this important factor when we designed their urban Coffee House restaurants, which feature communal tables, hipper and more contemporary environments, and a strong sense of community. Restaurant design needs to reflect the type of sharing experience Millennials gravitate towards
  6. 6. | Fast Food and Millennials | Tool Kit | August 10, 2015 6 4) Allow greater digital access Millennials grew up with mobile devices, social media and internet access, and crave social recognition. Fast food chains should take a lead in offering order tablets at the table, and service that blurs the lines between fast food and fast casual. Free Wi-Fi is becoming the norm and restaurants need to up their game by providing faster internet access because this generation craves all things video. Geofencing and offering customized mobile incentives – a territory traditionally not owned by conformist and rigid fast food chains – are opportunities worth exploring as this generation wants to feel special and unique.
  7. 7. | Fast Food and Millennials | Tool Kit | August 10, 2015 7 5) Become responsible and healthy Millennials are hungry for facts on the food they consume – from the ingredients and nutritional facts to the product source, ways of production, and the social commitment of the organization. Fast food chains need to become transparent and provide a high degree of information that can easily be accessed and shared digitally. Recycling and environmental initiatives such as LEED- designated buildings are becoming table stakes, while many fast food chains stray from such initiatives. Fast food chains will also need to move away from their heavy reliance on red meat as this generation tends to eat more chicken and non-traditional protein such as vegan alternatives.
  8. 8. | Fast Food and Millennials | Tool Kit | August 10, 2015 8 conclusion For many of the reasons previously illustrated, Millennials tend to gravitate to fast casual and fast food chains will need to blur the lines between these categories. Fast food chains need to overcome the perception that value drives their business. On the upside, Millennials are willing to pay more for a better experience. A change in the service, ordering model, and more welcoming and cooler experiences can go a long way in attracting Millennials.

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