Trends & Insights

Millennials and Chain Restaurants

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Lots has been said about Millennials and their dining habits – they value experiences, food quality, menu experimentation and trying new flavors inspired by world cuisines. All of this must mean that Millennials avoid chain restaurants, right? Not quite. A recent poll shows that Millennials are actually consuming more chain restaurant meals than their parents or grandparents, because of a few key features chains have over a local hipster haunt or fine dining experience.

The first is convenience. Millennials are strapped for time, and while they value food quality and production ethics, they’re also used to having what they want at their fingertips when they want it. That means grocery shopping and meal prepping often go out the window for Millennials who may be juggling more than one job with limited free hours in a day. The same goes for washing up – cleaning pots, pans, cutlery, plates, and glasses is falling by the wayside in favor of foods these consumers can eat with their hands, like burgers, sandwiches, and tacos.

The reliability of a chain restaurant is also appealing to Millennials. With independent restaurants, the diner never knows what kind of experience they’ll have or the quality of food they’ll receive. According to Bruce Shroeder, president of Millennial favourite fast-casual Mexican chain Moe’s Southwest Grill, the “consistency factor” is what makes this cohort feel comfortable stepping through their doors again and again. This extends to everything from the décor, to the service, and of course, to the food. Chain restaurant repeat business is built on consistency in food more than anything else, so providing consumers the confidence to make a purchase decision based on their previous experiences with your QSR is essential – that’s why we make every AdvancePierre product to the highest standard, every time, so our customers can provide that confidence to their customers.

Social media, of course, is also a huge driver of millennials into trying and repeating purchase with chain restaurants. A recent Facebook study shows that Millennials are totally tapped into their mobile world when deciding what to eat, with 53% of frequent fast food diners and 41% of occasional fast food diners heading to the web and social media first when choosing a dining destination (source). They’re looking for photos and reviews on social and the web, and turning to messaging platforms to ask friends about their recent experiences at QSRs. With chain restaurants serving dramatically more consumers than independents, it’s no wonder they’ve been able to dominate this conversation.

Of course, shareable menu items are also essential in remaining top of mind in these mobile conversations. From the KFC Double Down to Starbucks’ recent Unicorn Frappuccino, everything from the outlandishly Instagrammable to the so-good-you-have-to-tell-your-friends helps move the needle on social shares and creating conversation about what your QSR or chain is serving up.

So, looking for new ideas to freshen up your menu? Check out a few of our newest recipes below, all featuring AdvancePierre Foods Crispy Steak made with high quality and standards for amazing flavor and home-cooked feel, every time.

Katsu Curry with Crispy Steak

Sweet and savory meet crispy in this world cuisines-inspired dish.

Crispy Steak Parmesan Bake

As the weather cools down, this winter warmer is sure to please.

Loaded Fried Steak Tortas

This trending sandwich is loaded with delicious toppings and kept crispy with AdvancePierre Crispy Steak! 

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