Although much of what millennial parents value in a dining experience overlaps with their counterparts who don’t have kids, parents within this demographic do have some distinct preferences to consider. As 80% of millennials will have kids by 2026, operators may want to weigh some of the following draws that appeal to members of this growing group.
A welcoming atmosphere
Top draws for millennial parents—90% of whom place a restaurant order weekly—are friendly service, accurate orders and quality, tasty menu items. They differ most from millennials overall by the value they place on kid-friendliness and creativity (ditto to coffee quality, as many in this demographic are no doubt running on little rest).
Millennial parents are also looking for such time-savers as mobile ordering and takeout options, as well as restaurants that offer coupons and new global flavors, according to Technomic's 2016 Generational Consumer Trend Report. Natural menu items are a selling point, too.
Some 43% of parents allow their kids to choose which restaurant to visit, making unique kids offerings one way to appeal to millennial families, says the Generational Report. And according to Technomic's MenuMonitor, just 22% percent of U.S. casual-dining concepts offer a kids menu, a figure that rises slightly among fine-dining concepts (25%) and quick-service spots (27%). Midscale (family) restaurants lead the pack in this regard, as 49% of them offer a kids menu.
The most common options on kids’ menus include such classics as chicken nuggets, grilled cheese and hamburgers, while less standard items like grilled fish and pork entrees are trending upward.