Millennial Menus - More Than Just a Passing Fad

By Robert Hood Corporate Food & Beverage Manager, Atlific Hotels | August 05, 2018

Although a lot has been written about the Millennial generation and their impact on current and future modern life, foodservice has definitely commented on the way they are changing the foodservice landscape, facilities, service standards are definitely menu format and delivery structure. They are definitely not a 'fad' that we will have to get through or a fashion statement that will resonate with our current times, the millennial menu impact on food service will have a long term effect on the way we see, purchase and feel food and beverage for business, fun, personal and entertainment purposes.

The millennial menu in its own way will re-create the menu format, allow for a service environment based on community, sharing and the personal interactions of the diner and the food experience, making each menu item, taste, smell and order process to be a unique, personal and broadcasted experience that is singular as the individual and menu items itself. The millennial menu will test the established practice of menu and dish standards whose expectations will differ greatly from one generation to the next. We will be examining all of these statements to expand on why the millennial menu format is a unique opportunity for the foodservice industry to reinvent itself once again and be applicable to a new customer that does not just request but demands change.

Our first step is to simply define our millennial dining customer and how they have defined their own menu concept. The millennial diner is just about to surpass the Baby Boomer generation in terms of restaurant and foodservice buying power. Within the foodservice industry they are in a huge way changing the way business is marketed, and presented. They have very definite dining preferences for food styles and taste profiles, and the way they are marketed is extremely unique and defined to their generation alone. In short this is a generation is changing the way we perceive the foodservice industry and the way we eat out.

The millennial diner is a true food traveller. They looking for a menu concept and experience that is unique as they are, with the menu, items and environment in which their food tells a story that can be shared in a community environment. For the millennial diner and the menu's they crave enables that they can experience a world-wide culinary experience that can be intimately shared with those closest to them.

The millennial menu values local agriculture, produce and the economy that supports producing local foods. The story of that food is an integral part of the menus story is what drives the millennial diner to be part of that experience. The food that it represents equates to produce, locally raised lives stock, and hand crafted food manufacturing including artisan produced food. The menu needs to reflect these values. Whereby in the past the point of the menu was to let a diner know what was available to them with a colourful and often poetic description, the millennial menu will more often read like a story book detailing not only the ingredients and their origin but also it goes further, detailing their location, the producer and how and where it is harvested. The menu transcends into almost a local food reference book.

This menu application has spawned the 'Farm to Table' concept as well the '100 Mile Menu' as an example of a menu application that is very definitely needing to me localised and tell the story of each ingredient items being used in its composition. This need to local food encourages the business producing the menu to limited the distance from the origin of the ingredient to the table at which it is served. For the millennial menu and it target diner this is a very important factor in the sales and marketing process.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.