Millennial Trends Driving Tomorrow's Dining Economy

Results from a new survey on millennial behaviours have shone a light on three key drivers that the generation have indicated will shape the restaurant sector of tomorrow.

1: Millennials are more spontaneous and are shifting around £1 billion in spend a year to delivery services

Restaurants face increasing challenges in forecasting demand and must rethink how they structure service, as home delivery orders become more popular and very low numbers of people make advanced reservations for in-restaurant dining.

  • A fifth of millennials (20% compared to 9% Gen X) say they go out less to restaurants now because they are getting more food delivered that they would previously have gone out to eat. This represents a shift worth around £1 billion a year towards food delivery and away from in-restaurant dining.
  • Only 9% of millennials now say they are likely to make restaurant bookings and are willing to spend on average 14% less than Gen X on a meal.

2: Millennials embrace robots and automation

Majority of UK millennials say they are ready for some restaurant services to be delivered by robots, allowing staff to focus on important 'human' interactions.

  • 52% of millennials indicate they would dine in a restaurant where ordering and payments are fully automated, compared to only 39% of Gen X diners.
  • Over two thirds of millennials (71%) say they wouldn't be against their food being delivered by a robot.
  • However, millennials still crave human interaction in their dining experiences as over half (51%) would still like to give a compliment or complaint to a person rather than a machine.

3: Consumers turn away from fast food and expect more sustainable, healthy options:

Consumer tastes are changing as millennials see a future where plant-based, environmentally friendly approach will win out over traditionally unhealthy fast foods.

  • For millennials the future is vegan - nearly half of all millennials (49%) predict vegan restaurants will be the most in demand in the next two years.
  • In fact, 75% of millennials thought at least one of the following types of restaurants would be most in demand: vegan, vegetarian or those with good environmental credentials. In comparison only 25% of millennials thought fast food restaurants will be in the most demand over the next two years.
  • Nearly half (47%) of all respondents placed reduced food waste as their top sustainable priority. Only 11% of consumers indicated that sustainability didn't matter to them.

About the survey
The survey was conducted online across 2008 respondents in October 2018 by YouGov. Half of the sample are respondents classified as “millennials", aged (20-35), and “Generation X", aged (36-51). The survey was weighted to ensure a nationally representative sample of the respondents. If 20% of millennials now go out less because they get their food delivered, their custom that's shifting to delivery is calculated to be worth £1 billion pounds a year. This is based on our survey data that found millennials want to spend on average £31 per meal and that instead of eating out once a month, 20% would shift to ordering in. Market size of 13.8 millennials.