Friday, June 25, 2010

The Millennials are coming!

Just sat through a lengthy yet fascinating lecture by Icono-Culture about the future trends and attitudes of the Millennial generation who are entering the C&U segment rapidly and in large amounts.

I thought my generation was confusing… Just wait… The key words here are technology and “do the right thing.” Technology is not only something embraced by this group, but rather expected as a social norm. What this means to us as operators is that we need to do better at the latest tech trends and in my case, I believe I am going to need to have one of these young adults on the payroll to help me keep up! An insider if you will… The other technology issue we face is instant information… This will include real-time account balances and meal plan balances. I know many universities are doing this and congratulation… We will need to catch up and keep up however.

Communication is something this group will struggle with if it is not done with technology. Face to face is not something you should expect. I also fear this could lead to poor decisions with limited feedback from them. As Directors, we will need to be at our best to predict what this group will like, want, and need.

What I found most intriguing was the “just do the right thing” attitude. This is obviously a bit subjective, but if the population believes you are doing what is good and just for them, they will be silent. If you turn your back on them, they will be outspoken though. The affirmation of silence means you are doing it well. Strange, I know, but this explains the lack of feedback and communication. Silence is truly golden with this group, eh?

Finally, the need to look at continuous dining is back… We currently offer three squares a day, but this group will want to eat on their own terms which begs the question. Continuous service is often a costly mode of operation for C&U’s, but having at least one location will probably be necessary. I do feel affirmed that we are on the right course and will need to make only slight modification to accept this generation with open arms. Education will play a key role as many of this generation grew up without home-cooked meals. We will have to be their surrogates now more than ever.


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