We’ve all done it, posted an Instagram photo of that carbonara you’re about to dig into, spent hours waiting for a table at the hottest new restaurant in town, or just gotten lost in the vortex that is Pinterest looking for a new recipe to try. Food. We love to eat it, post about it, and we spend most of the day thinking about what our next meal will be. As of 2014, 50% of millennials consider themselves to be foodies. What is it about food that makes it more than just a means of survival?
As millennials, we are all about the experience. We don’t want just a basic transaction between a business and a customer, we want creativity and novelty and to feel like we have had a memorable moment in our lives with that experience. We are also looking for communal experiences. Having a connection to the people around us is important, we don’t care if it’s with strangers or friends. About 55% of millennials prefer communal tables as opposed to private seating. The food movement is really a communitarian movement says author of several foodie books, Michael Pollan. We want to be involved and present with everyone and everything when enjoying our meal.
About 80% of millennials want to know more about how their food is grown and will spend more on ethically sourced meats and farm-to-table experiences. It is for this reason that community is an integral part in the investment we have in every step of the process when it comes to our food. We want to know where it came from, if it’s processed, and even how happy the pig was that is now bacon on your plate. What’s better than when the waiter sets butter on table and lets you know it was locally sourced from a farm down the road, was churned in the restaurant and the cow’s name is Betsey? Or when the Chef who just created the beef tartare you’re munching on, comes by to introduce himself? A deep connection with the food is made when we know all of the information.
Pop-up restaurants and food trucks are a large source of experiential dining. Theme Night? Kale Craze? All possible to experiment with when you’re taking over an abandoned warehouse or “space 12” in a parking lot. It also breeds a feeling of exclusivity. Scored tickets for that secret supper club? Time to let Facebook and your friends know how much you’re enjoying your meal that they will never be able to get. Millennial diners have major FOMO (fear of missing out) and 72% have said when they see posts of friends dining out, they wish they could be there with them. Hashtag jealous?
Gone are the days of frozen meals and mystery meat. Here to stay, at least for now, is a communal experiential movement. To all those brave enough to host, good luck keeping us entertained.