There is no denying that the Millennial and Generation Z demographic groups are very much on the radar of the hospitality industry at the moment. Whether they’re staff or potential customers, they really are becoming a priority across the whole sector. In fact, Essential Cuisine’s Nigel Crane says that market analysts MCA sum it up the best. Nigel says that, according to MCA’s research, “Millennials are the most valuable consumers in the UK restaurant industry, adapting to meet the demands of younger diners is a must for operators.”  

So how are we responding as an industry? We asked our exhibitors how they thought the industry should adapt to the needs and tastes of this huge portion of the market. Here’s what some of them said:

Open Table - “Be Open to Online”.

“Younger diners are completely at ease with the use of technology in all facets of their lives – including dining out. In fact, when surveyed, 83% of OpenTable UK diners stated that they prefer making reservations online to other mediums and 45% of all OpenTable reservations in the UK originate on a mobile device. These figures continue to grow in large part because of the number of Millennial diners that are coming of age. As Neil Forbes, Chef and Owner of Café St. Honoré in Edinburgh, states “In the old days you had a phone line and that was it… Nowadays the younger generation definitely books online”. Therefore, restaurateurs looking to attract this key target audience should ensure that they are easily searchable and bookable online – or risk missing out.”

DesignMyNight - “Mobile-First”.

“Millennials and Generation Z are a mobile-first generation. From the standpoint of reservations, restaurants need to ensure that their whole process can be done online and in a mobile-optimised manner. At Collins, we promote the usage of our online payment and pre-ordering system that allows restaurants to sort all deposits and pre-orders online and for the customer to manage everything from their tablet or phone. No printing of spreadsheets and scanning them back to the restaurant nor taking deposits/card details over the phone. Minimal disruption to their lives, no phone calls and all online.”

Peppermill Interiors - “Look great. Don’t just taste great”.

“With the advent of social media, it’s easier than ever to reach the next generation of consumers. From our perspective, as a furniture supplier, our younger followers might be future restaurant or bar owners, and it’s important to make our brand known to them now so they’ll come to us in a few years knowing that we can offer something that hasn’t been done before. From the viewpoint of the venues we supply to, it’s human nature to judge a book by its cover – good food and excellent service will ensure people keep coming back, but an edgy interior that stands out from your competitors will get them through the door in the first place, and social media is a great place to show people what you have to offer.”

Caffè di Artisan - “Delight. Don’t just Satisfy”.

Caffè di Artisan, makers of award-winning luxury coffee, have been doing their homework. They say:

“Nielsen, the big data aggregator, did a multi-country survey of consumers and these were the Key Insights:

  1. Consumers today are looking for new, undiscovered brands and to become part of that brand's evolution rather than settle for what are old line, jaded, over-exposed, commoditised brands.  
  2. Consumers are looking for premiumisation - not in terms of big-ticket items, but better/more luxurious products for everyday use: food, drink, toiletries etc.
  3. Customers are willing to pay higher for more natural, environmentally friendly and organic products.
  4. In developed markets like the US and Europe, while bigger companies and brands are struggling to get any growth at all, smaller brands are doing very well. The entire category growth is coming from these as consumers look for something that is newer and better.
  5. All these trends are even more pronounced for the Millennials.

In order to appeal to the Millennials, these are the trends the hospitality industry should address. For example, providing  a range of luxury coffees, including organic offerings, - something that is currently available for wine, tea, even water - but not for coffee. The whole point is to delight, not just satisfy, the young consumer.”

QualityFry and Essential Cuisine - “Innovation in the Kitchen”

QualityFry, manufacturers of ventless, smokefree fryers, spend a lot of time working with chefs and kitchen staff. They have noticed that a lot has changed already when it comes to the actual food:

“The changing food landscape includes many meal solutions that didn’t even exist five or 10 years ago.”

While Nigel Crane, Managing Director of Essential Cuisine suggests that “Chefs can stay ahead of the competition by working closely with manufacturers and suppliers who are developing products which can help inspire on-trend and innovative dishes and appeal to younger generations.”

Come along and discuss this important topic with our exhibitors to see how they can help you reach this most-talked-about market demographic. You can find the contributors to this blog post at the following stand locations at The Restaurant Show this year.


Open Table
Stand UC48

Peppermill Interiors

Caffè di Artisan

Stand UF51

Essential Cuisine
Stand GC10