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New Survey: Gen Y trends that are driving tomorrow’s dining economy

Results from a new survey, which was conducted online in October 2018 by YouGov and sponsored by Planday, reveal three key drivers that Gen Y (Millennials born between 1980 and 2000) indicate will shape the restaurant sector of tomorrow.

John Coldicutt ",Restaurants need to listen to changing consumer preferences" Image: Planday

John Coldicutt “Restaurants need to listen to changing consumer preferences”   /   Image: Planday

This survey gives an insight into the complex and changing consumer expectations, from younger to older diners, contributing to this challenging environment. “We know from our own customer base that things are only likely to get less predictable as just under two thirds (63%) of our customers who are restaurant managers expect the percentage of food orders from online delivery services to increase over the next year. In order to stay competitive and profitable, restaurants need to listen to changing consumer preferences and use the available technologies to cater to an increasingly unpredictable environment.” says John Coldicutt, Chief Commercial Officer for Planday.

Driver 1: Millennials are more spontaneous and are shifting around 1.1 billion EUR 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  1.1 billion EUR 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.

Driver 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.

Driver 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

Image: Loui Blake

Image: Loui Blake

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.

Vegan restaurant entrepreneur Loui Blake commented: “The results of this survey absolutely reflect what we are starting to see and are responding to with our two vegan restaurants, Erpingham House in Norfolk and soon to open Kalifornia Kitchen in London. For us it is about listening to what the customer wants and delivering the highest quality food and service we can. We are thoroughly embracing the popularity of delivery services like Deliveroo, adjusting our menu slightly to ensure that we offer a menu where the food will travel well and not offering deliveries when it will put too much pressure on the restaurant to service in-house and external orders. We also know how important sustainability is to our customers and how crucial it is that we clearly communicate all the steps we take, from using Vegware plastics to carbon offsetting schemes, to reassure our customers that both we, and they, are dining without costing the earth.” 


About the survey

The survey was conducted online across 2008 respondents in October 2018 by YouGov in the UK. 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  1.1 billion EUR  a year. This is based on the survey data that found millennials want to spend on average EUR 35 per meal and that instead of eating out once a month, 20% would shift to ordering in. Market size of 13.8 millennials (source: ONS). Download  full findings from youGov here as power point.



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