Economy

Here's Another Ridiculous Thing Millennials Are Getting Blamed For

June 5th 2017

By:
Thor Benson

It seems like millennials are getting blamed for everything these days. From not buying enough diamonds to not going on expensive vacations, these pesky kids appear to be upending everything. Now, they're their being targeted as the reason another industry is suffering.

As Kate Taylor asserted in a recent Business Insider piece, "Casual dining is in danger — and millennials are to blame." 

In a recent letter to shareholders, Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith raised the dreaded specter of the millennial scourge, "Millennial consumers are more attracted than their elders to cooking at home, ordering delivery from restaurants, and eating quickly, in fast-casual or quick-serve restaurants." 

And as Business Insider reports, adding to the phenomenon has been a recent surge in popularity for grocery chains, which feature, "lower prices and perks such as pick-up and delivery, new technology, and trendy features like wine bars and to-go meals." Newly emerging meal-delivery services like Blue Apron have also contributed to the challenges casual dining institutions are facing. 

restaurant

So what's the reason for yet another millennial spending shift away from a once-thriving institution? 

"They don't have any money," Richard Wolff, a professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, told ATTN:. Wolff said the average wage of workers in the United States has been stagnant for decades, and millennials started their working lives in an economy that has made affording minor luxuries difficult. 

 

 

"Millennials are new entrants into the labor market, and new entrants into the labor market come in at the bottom, and the bottom is awful these days," Wolff said.

"It's very, very low pay, it's very precarious work, it's a job with few or no benefits, and because they are the children of people who grew up in a better time, they're freaked out by all of this. They don't know what to do."

money

So, it's not that millennials are so "on-the-go" that they don't want spend an evening out at a restaurant, it's that they often don't have the time or money to do such things. Millennials are actually working more hours per week than the previous generation.

"Americans who have lived much of their adult lives in the aftermath of the Great Recession have lower incomes, less mobility, and greater financial dependence on older relatives than any other generation in modern history," a Quartz article from last year explained. "Many millennials do not have a lot of choice. They are merely reacting to lost opportunity."

So it's actually pretty simple: casual dining makes less sense for the budget of the average millennial.

"They cook at home, rather than spend the money, because they have to," Wolff explained.