Catering to the College Market

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The U.S. is home to an estimated 21 million college students. These students are usually thought to be young 20-somethings, but with today's ever-changing demographics, that market now encompasses adults between the ages of 18 and 30.

Reaching millennials, including college students, can be difficult due to the wide age range, often listed as between 18 and 34. Furthermore, not all college students are alike. While some may be teens fresh out of high school, others may have just returned to school in their early 20s, and some may even be parents.

One thing binding these students together, though, is a love of food. According to an advertising study, about 50% of millennials refer to themselves as foodies. When it comes to considering top pizza franchises and other food options, millennials have their own way of choosing where to eat.

In a survey conducted in 2016, more than 1,100 students from across the U.S. were asked about their eating habits. Below is a sampling of what college students had to say about their spending habits, how they choose where to eat, and what they're looking for in an eatery.

Frequency and Cost

  • About 47% of students spend between $5 and $10 on average when eating out
  • Less than 10% of students said they would spend up to $20 on eating out
  • Approximately 12% of the respondents said they eat out daily
  • 52% of respondents eat out 2 to 3 times per week

More Than Quick Service

  • Students will choose a socializing atmosphere over food quality when choosing where to eat
  • More than 40% of students said they would choose a place based on the availability of trying something new
  • About 41% of respondents said they would also choose a place based on what they're craving
  • Students living on campus or off campus with family eat out just as much as their counterparts

What College Students Want

When choosing somewhere to eat, respondents focused on three things: price, quality and taste. The survey asked participants to rate their feelings from very important to not important.

  • Taste and price were both rated as very important
  • Some other important factors included promotional offers, how easy it is to order, portion sizes, location, and if the food was delivered quickly
  • 59% of the students said they would try new items if there were special deals or coupons for these items
  • 47% said they would be willing to try a new flavor of an item if there were special promotions or coupons
  • The more comfortable a student is with a location, the more likely they are to continue going there

Businesses have long targeted college students. As pizza is consumed at least 4 times a month by the average American, franchisees should learn more about how millennials operate and what could bring them into your very own Hungry Howie's pizza franchise location.