Restaurant & Hospitality Consultants

Have you met the HENRYs?

By: Andrew Freeman

If you haven’t met them yet…you want to.  They are High Earners Not Rich Yet and there are A LOT of them.  (To the tune of 24.3m households according to this article on WARC.)   They are between 25 and 34 years old and earn between $100k and $250k.  They are a subset of the millennial generation. The best part about the HENRYs…they are on their way to wealthy and so if you can become their friend now, they will be loyal to you later when they have even more money to spend.

If you are a fine dining restaurant, they may or may not be your core guest at the moment.  However, according to The Washington Post, they are “shattering the ideas of luxury” so now’s the time to understand want they want and invite them to your restaurant.

Here are a few key ideas for making friends with the HENRYs.

1) Know their (real) names. They are aspirational. The HENRYs have cash flow, but are not wealthy, so they are leasing cars instead of buying them.  They like UBER because it provides an upscale experience without the costs of a private driver. They have made services like Rent the Runway successful. They value functional luxuries, like whole foods and spend money on iPhones and other expensive tools, over other types of traditional luxury.  They value authenticity. They may not dress up the way older generations have, but they want to be treated well. So offer them truly exceptional service. Know their names.  Be genuine. Treat them like VIPs.

2) Invite them to your bar for a drink. Increasingly, we are seeing that bar guests and dinner guests are different.  There is overlap, of course, but these guests differ in terms of dining occasion and in terms of spend.  Make sure your bar offerings are friendly for those who don’t want to dinner, but want to have a few appetizers or a burger and drink.  Restaurants are often afraid that building the bar experience in this way is going to cannibalize dinner.  It’s not.  It’s a totally different dining occasion. (And if they don’t get it from your bar, they will go somewhere else).

3) Show them how you do lunch. The HENRYs work hard (they are high earners, right?) Use lunch to show off your experience, but make sure you have options for quick and easy. You don’t have to be fast casual, but give guests the option to have a power lunch.

The HENRYs are increasing in numbers every year, so they’ll be around for a while.   The investment in building a relationship with them will be well spent.

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