Give Now

Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Fast Food: Evolve Or Get Left Behind

Millennials hold a significant amount of buying power, which can make or break fast food restaurants.

panera bread

Photo: Doug (Flickr)

Panera Bread is one of the "fast-casual" restaurants courting millennials.

Millennials are no doubt a major economic player — 18 to 33 years old hold about 1.3 trillion dollars of spending power, according to a study by RBC Capital Markets.

That spending power has the ability to make or break restaurants, and restaurants are watching trends with trepidation. Over the past seven years, millennials have slowed restaurant spending by 21 percent.

What draws millennials to restaurants is digital savvy and high-quality ingredients. Places like Panera and Chipotle lead with fresh ingredients, made-to-order food in a fast-casual environment.

Starbucks leads the curve with a smartphone app that replaces rewards cards, including the ability to pay through the app.

Meanwhile, traditional fast food like McDonald’s are suffering. Despite attempts to court younger customers with healthier items like yogurt, salad and soups, McDonald’s has posted a fifth consecutive month of declining profits.

Read More:

  • How Millennials Will Dictate The Future Of Fast Food (Forbes)
  • Are McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Pizza Hut stuck in the past? (MarketWatch)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Earth Eats:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Search Earth Eats

Earth Eats on Twitter

Earth Eats on Flickr

Harvest Public Media