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Casual Dining makes up the largest segment in the restaurant industry, offering consumers a full-service model with a moderate price point. When Nation’s Restaurant News and WD Partnersconducted their inaugural Consumer Picks study, they included 33 casual-dining restaurant chains. Bonefish Grill came in at #1. Bonefish Grill is known for its fresh fish dishes and signature cocktails. It is the top-scoring chain among men and Millennials (the generation born in the late 1970s).

We asked the manager at a Bonefish Grill near us why he thinks they do so well. “We pride ourselves on the local feel of the restaurant, offering our guests’ a unique and affordable experience,” said Bill Benjamin, managing partner of Bonefish Grill in Schaumburg, one of three Chicago-area locations. “Our seasonal menu and specials feature only the highest-quality, freshest ingredients, including unique varieties of fish and seafood as well as outstanding non-seafood items. We combine this with a big-city bar that offers bar fresh, handcrafted cocktails and an affordable, eclectic wine list.”

Bonefish Grill is spot on. The Millennials that voted it #1 are confident and know what they want; namely, a personal experience. They are educated, mobile, well-versed in technology and rely on their peers. They put more trust in a peer review than a commercial ad. They expect value and quality. The only media they follow is social – if you want to go after this group (and we suggest you do – they outnumber the boomers) then you need to make it easy for them to access and share information about you. Facebook, Twitter, topic-specific blogs, and opinion sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon (see our post on how you should be using review sites) are all ways that Millennials are talking to each other about your restaurant. Furthermore, Milliennials are loyal when loyalty is earned.

Need help reaching your audience? Our restaurant marketers can help you develop and implement a strategy to reach your target audience. Want to build your loyal customer base? Sign up today for a free eateriaTM account, our loyalty email marketing tool that will increase your business. View the Nation’s Restaurant News article that this post references.

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