Millennials aren’t just hitting funky gastropubs or super trendy casual spots. Limited-service restaurants, both QSRs and fast casuals, are big among the millennial crowd, too. From menu adds hitting on the high-protein trend to finding a way to put shareables on a fast-casual menu, these operators are winning points with millennials.
1. Bowls beyond rice
Bowls are big—but carbs are not for many millennials. Yet most fast casuals pushing bowls as a go-to lunch dish only give two base options: rice or salad. And sometimes, especially for men, a salad just isn’t satisfying enough. Mediterranean fast casual Naf Naf Grill gives a third option: a hummus bowl. The base of hummus can be topped with chicken, steak or falafel and an array of veggies. An added bonus that appeals to millennials: it’s a high-protein choice, something particularly buzzy among millennial diners.
2. Showing new-resident love
A co-worker recently moved, and she registered that move with the post office. Tucked amongst the Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond coupons that get sent out to people who change their addresses—which happens a good amount among millennials (I’m about to make my sixth move in a decade, for example)—was a “welcome to the neighborhood” message from the local Chick-fil-A. Included was a coupon for a free sandwich or free order of chicken nuggets, which only was valid at that nearby location. Needless to say, she’s hit that Chick-fil-A already…and is likely to be a loyal customer, since they got her in early and delivered a positive experience. And free food never hurts to win over millennials.
3. Called out: Food for two
Millennials love variety and sampling, but small plates aren’t really the best fit for limited-service spots, especially from a price-point perspective (It can cost a heck of a lot to add up multiple $10-priced items). Emerging fast casual Luke’s Lobster, known for its seafood rolls, created a sampler platter for the limited-service world. It lists Noah’s Ark on the menu, specifically calling out “(for 2!)” right next to the name of the dish. It includes two half-portions of each of its signature rolls—lobster, crab and shrimp—plus four crab claws, two drinks, two chips or slaw sides and two pickles. A similar version is available for one, but the Noah’s Ark comes at a slight price cut.