Washington Restaurant Market Watch: Restaurants put out welcome mat for Millennial moms

Washington Restaurant Market Watch: Restaurants put out welcome mat for Millennial moms https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/millenials-1024x683.jpg

By Paul Schlienz

Millennials.

You can’t help but hearing about this generation born roughly between 1981 and 2000. There are, after all, more Millennials than members of any other generation in 2016. Naturally, restaurateurs want to connect with this vital demographic with very different expectations and interests than their elders in Generation X (born circa 1961-80) and the Baby Boom generation (born circa 1943-60).

What you may not have heard of yet, but likely will increasingly, is a big effort on the part of businesses, including restaurants, to find ways of appealing to a very specific demographic within the Millennial generation: mothers.

There are almost 32 million mothers in the U.S., and they account for close to $1.6 trillion in spending each year. Mothers are the primary decision makers on where and what Millennial families eat, so it’s natural that restaurants would want to reach them.

Millennials are more conscious of healthy eating than preceding generations. Now that they are becoming parents who want the best for their children, they are increasingly focused on fruit and vegetable consumption.

Do not, however, think that health is their only focus when Millennial moms look for fast food, frequently gathering their information online, as is so typical of their entire generation.

“When they consider fast food options, moms are looking for the optimal balance of health, convenience, and value,” marketing expert Denise Lee Yohn wrote in QSR. “Health doesn’t necessarily mean low-calorie or low-fat—fresh, wholesome, and natural foods are other ways you can appeal to moms’ health consciousness. To moms, convenience involves speed of service, as well as ease of things like ordering, driving thru, carrying group orders and splitting meals. Fast food should be a reprieve from lives filled with hassles and responsibilities.”

Chick-fil-A is one chain that’s making an extra effort to attract these Millennial moms. Since January, the chain has been implementing a service called “Mom’s Valet,” designed to make it easier for customers with young children to eat at the chain’s restaurants.

Mom’s Valet allows parents with kids to order food at the drive-thru, while the kiddies are safely strapped in their car seats. After the order is placed, the family can come inside where an employee will have a table ready for the entire family with however many high chairs are needed, and serve them their food.

Chick-fil-A first conceived the idea for Mom’s Valet after noticing how hectic and difficult the food ordering process can often be for parents with young children, David Farmer, Chick-fil-A’s vice president of menu strategy and development, told Business Insider.

Mom’s Valet’s intent, according to Farmer is “taking the stress out” and making Chick-fil-A more relaxing place for its customers.

Expect more overtures to capture the important Millennial mom demographic.

“The Millennial mom is a busy woman that looks for convenient ways to provide her family with the right nutrition to fulfill a healthy lifestyle,” marketing expert Jeff Fromm wrote in Forbes. “As more Millennial women are becoming mothers every day, ignoring the influence and desire of this growing demographic could be detrimental to your brand’s future success and impact.”

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