In yesterday’s scintillating installment of news from the restaurant world about a sharp decline in sales among folks 18 to 30, it was noted that some marketing slogans are getting people in the door. That may help, but it’s not a long range strategy and it’s not going to work from day to day either. I mean if your concern is eating healthy foods and you are thinking about what to eat for lunch during your 9 to 5? You’ll take food from home: A salad, a soup for the microwave, cold cuts, etc. And after work? We’re talking convenience and cost: If there’s a Red Lobster or Mexican joint nearby, or a local Chinese place, and you’re in and out for $30 max.? Done. For the high-rollers who step out in the evening, any place deemed hot or written up or hard to get into? That’s the ticket! $12 cocktails! $19 burgers! A chef in an open kitchen surrounded by guys with tats cooking high fat foods nine ways! Woot! Woot! Woot!
But none of this is gonna last long.
The secrets to longevity and getting a full house are a couple of things.
First of all, service. Micky D’s figured that out decades ago. You’re in, you’re out. Everyone is treated the same. Say what you like, but McDonald’s democratized the restaurant industry. No favorites among customers, no reserved tables.
Then think of this: Every generation wants a cuisine that reflects its spirit and way of doing things. The restaurants that will succeed among 18 to 30 year olds and make lifelong customers out of them will be those places that sell the foods that reflect their experiences and desires: More vegetarian dishes, more Asian dishes, and more food eaten on the fly. Even the fancy places with tasting menus will highlight vegetables, products from countries once thought of as remote and inferior to Europe, and a style of presentation that emphasizes the fact that the day is long and the night is young.