How to make friends with millennials

What’s the one trait that makes millennials different from previous generations? (Hint: It’s not just their mobile devices.)



 

George Orwell once wrote, “Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it and wiser than the one that comes after it.” In the 1960s, they called it “the generation gap.” It was believed that hippies would turn the world into either a blissful Aquarian utopia or a cesspool of decadence and perversion. In fact, many of the kids who floated on clouds of marijuana smoke through anti-Vietnam protests in 1968 went on to vote for the decidedly “square” Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Turns out the hippies weren’t all that different from Mom and Dad, except they preferred weed to Harvey Wallbangers. Today’s millennial generation—the largest and possibly the most overanalyzed demographic in history—are just regular folks, too. True, they love their smartphones, but older Americans have grown dependent on such devices as well. They care about social causes, but so do their parents and grandparents. They prize authenticity and frown on phonies, but anyone who’s ever read Catcher in the Rye (published in 1951) knows that’s nothing new.

The difference is, millennials grew up in a culture that stresses individualism and personal choice: niche cable networks, social media, customized news feeds and Xbox. As media consumers, they’ve been bombarded by traditional advertising all their lives. They’re jaded and skeptical of “sell messages” aimed at the masses. They think for themselves and have to be convinced.

In this month’s cover story, “Inside the Millennial Mind” (page 36), Tracy Morin explains how independent pizzerias have a major advantage in appealing to millennials. Who’s more authentic than that guy rolling out dough balls in a flour-streaked T-shirt? Who cares about the community more than the local pizzeria that sponsors Little League teams and opens its kitchen to the homeless on Thanksgiving Day?

Don’t think of millennials as just another target demographic. Think of them as individuals who will respect your individuality, as listeners who like a good story—your story (doesn’t every pizzeria have one?). Don’t tell them what you think they want to hear. Tell them who you really are, and show them what you really care about. The megachains can never compete with that.

 

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Chef’s Corner: Pizzaiolo and rock musician Mick Mahan hits us with his best pizza shot.

In this exclusive Q&A, Pat Benatar’s bassist, owner of Parma Pizzeria Napoletana, talks about his love for all pizza styles and serving pies to rockers from REO Speedwagon, Toto and more.

Astoria: Pizza and espresso are a match made in Italy

Nothing compliments an Italian dessert like a well-made espresso or specialty coffee drink made with Astoria espresso machines.

Season’s eatings: How to harvest a bumper crop of profits throughout the year

Stuck in a rut? Start using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients to rejuvenate your pizzeria’s menu while keeping your food dollars in the community.

5 effortless ways to improve your digital menu board and sell more pizza

With digital signage, your customers can see your menu in larger-than-life living color. Here’s how to use them to increase your sales and improve customer service.

The 2018 Pizza Power Report: A State-of-the-Industry Analysis

To stay competitive in the pizza business in 2018, independents will have to meet customers’ growing demand for speed, customization, delivery and convenience.

10 or 12? Advice on portion sizes for wing offerings

Will a six-count snack deal fly, and what’s the next step up from there?

Italian certified ingredients dominate the conversation at World Pizza Forum

PMQ's Missy Green takes a deeper look at the "Made in Italy" phenomenon.

What's Your Story? A pair of successful restaurateurs find a higher purpose with Little Box Pizza

This new concept with a conscience uses the power of pizza and small business ownership to turn lives around.

Get the gluten out with DeIorio's Fresh Prosciutto Gluten-Free Pizza

Serve your customers this prime pie made with fresh prosciutto, garlic and DeIorio's gluten-free pizza shells.

Will putting eggs in your dough leave you with egg on your face?

When it comes to improving your crust, eggs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags