Will Millennials’ love of eating out kill off home-cook brands?

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Millennials are the largest living generation and are poised this year to have more spending power than baby boomers, according to a recent report by Business Insider.

The report quoted analysts at Bernstein, who drew on a recent report from the US Department of Agriculture to examine how Millennials, defined as people born between 1981 and “the mid-2000s,” eat differently.

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One of the key differences is that Millennials are the most likely age group to eat at restaurants instead of at home, the report adds.

The report also adds that in a given month, Millennials have 2.3% of their meals at a restaurant, which Bernstein estimates as roughly one trip every other week.

The new Promised Land?

According to another report, ‘Millennial Passions’ by BCG Perspectives, restaurant meals and drinks are high on the list of what Millennials like to spend their money on – ranking above consumer electronics, apparel, beauty, fashion and cosmetics.

Its research too showed that Millennials eat out more often than non-Millennials (3.4 versus 2.8 times per week), regardless of their income or household composition.

This generation also spends slightly more on dining out than non-Millennials on average. As Millennials become a growing presence on the casual dining scene over, restaurants can attract them by offering the things that matter most to this generation, the BCG report adds:

#1 Faster service, along with ready-to-eat and to go options, or separate areas for taking out and dining in

#2 Happy-hours, late night, events

#3 Ability to provide innovative service for large parties

#4 New food and beverage combinations

#5 Technology that enhances the dining experience, such as online reservations, mobile and self-order placement, self-payment, charging stations, location-based promotions, etc

#6 Digital, mobile and social media promotions in addition to advocacy marketing

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What marketers should do now?

Millennials, globally, have undoubtedly dominated the headlines and captured the interest of brands, who are eager to meet the demands of the generation of shoppers, and ultimately secure their long-term loyalty.

That said, with so much choice now available in how, when and where they dine out, the battle to stay close to Millennials remains paramount if restaurants are going to drive a devoted relationship.

So are marketers really ready to grab this vast number of customers in the Middle East?

“The GCC region is at the forefront of following and creating global trends given the fact that Millennials represent a high share of the population. They shape the eating culture in-home and out-of-home,” Rainer Mueller, Communications Director at Nestlé Middle East, told GMR.

Developments such as the Ripe Market in Dubai, the boom of food trucks or places such as Kite Beach are enriching the eating out culture, with innovative experiences that have the potential to influence trend spots around the world.

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But more and more Millennials prefer dining out, will this challenge the dominance of ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook brands in the region?

Well, not really, responds Mueller.

“Millennials have several needs when it comes to food. They see food as part of their self-expression and creativity. Food brands need to respond to this need by providing inspiring recipe ideas,” he adds.