According to a new report from market research firm Technomic, restaurant operators are increasingly tasked with making a connection to the influential Millennial demographic while also appealing to other key segments of the population.

Americans born between 1977 and 1992 comprise the largest and most influential generational demographic since the Baby Boomers.

Technomic's report, "Understanding the Foodservice Attitudes & Behaviors of Millennials," includes insights on the similarities and differences between Millennial, Generation X and Baby Boomer consumers. It also examines differences within the Millennial cohort by ethnicity, age and life stage to help determine how needs evolve over time and what to expect for the up-and-coming Generation Z.

"Millennials cover a broad range of life stages, from college years, to early career to starting a family. They are not one homogeneous group with constant needs so it is imperative that restaurant chains stay on top of their changing needs and expectations, particularly in the areas of health and wellness, ability to customize their order and atmosphere," said Sara Monnette, director of Consumer Research at Technomic. "That said, Millennial consumers are only a portion of the total foodservice market, and it is important to meet their unique needs in a way that resonates across generational groups."

Findings from the report include:

  • Forty-one percent of Millennials purchase food away from home at least twice a week compared to 38 percent of Gen Xers and 37 percent of Baby Boomers;
  • Forty-eight 48 percent of Millennials compared to 47 percent of Gen Xers and 31 percent of Baby Boomers strongly agree that they have a diverse social network. Of those Millennials, 67 percent say it makes them more interested in ethnic foods;
  • A majority of Millennials (59 percent) say they look up restaurant menus online often or very often via a computer and 19 percent do so using a mobile device; and
  • Twenty percent of Millennials agree it is important for restaurants to serve alcoholic beverages compared to 12 percent of Gen Xers and 10 percent of Baby Boomers.

Read more about trends and statistics.

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