This is according to The Independent newspaper (website, as print is so out of favour with millennials).
The article, published in mid April, goes on to demonstrate the behaviour patterns of the 18-35 age bracket. Some of which are, quite frankly is a little disturbing.
Where as years ago, the go to source for a recommendation would be a guide book (AA, Michelin or Good Food Guide – take your pick). Then the explosion in to online world of the Blogosphere happened & any Tom, Dick or Harry with a digital camera became an overnight authority on food. This was swiftly accompanied by so called micro-blogging: Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram – Similar effect, but for those that weren’t particularly gifted with a great lexicon.
The Independent claims that, millennials are more prone to online stalking of restaurants & liking superficial images, than actually doing research from any authoritative source.
It has essentially became about followers & photogenic food; nothing to do with the quality. What ‘Generation Snowflake‘ seem to forget is that social media is a tool to promote, & has become less & less about sharing.
And here in lies the problem…
The effect on the restaurant (& hospitality) industry, is that it has been hijacked, possibly inadvertently by social media & big food, and here’s why:
We live in society where it’s deemed acceptable to buy two Chickens for £5 in a supermarket. So no wonder the same customers will balk at paying £15 for a Chicken breast main course in a restaurant. The combination of cheap (no questions asked) food, combined with a style over substance media presence IS a contributing factor to the chef shortage.
Revenue streams are squeezed to the limit, which often means that the commercial pressures, along with the constant raising of the bar, mean that kitchens are often run on 60+ hour weeks. Employees at the extreme ends of the spectrum are calling it a day because of it. New blood into the industry view it as ‘why should I do it, when other industries will offer me better prospects & work/life balance etc’. And veterans, whose experience the industry needs, are leaving because there is no end or solution in sight.
Renown foodie site, Eater.com, even called out the industry recently: Eater.com story on the extensive use of unpaid labour in high end restaurants.
What ‘Generation Snowflake’ seem to forget, is that there are countless examples of how social media is manipulated for the image, and that it is big business for brands & PR.
I’m not against social media, although it may seem like it. As Raymond Blanc of the two Michelin starred, Le Manoir Aux Quat Saison, said:
The more we talk about food, the more we get familiar about where it comes from, what’s in it, from which farm that comes from, our farmers and fisherman. The modern guest is getting more knowledgeable, responsible and aware
But just take what you see on your phone, with a pinch of salt.