Millennials Propel the Tech Revolution

In just a few years, technology at restaurants has evolved from a novelty into an expectation for consumers. As technology can no longer be overlooked as a key element of the guest experience, we have revised the 60+ attributes tracked in our Consumer Brand Metrics (CBM) program to include several new ones related to technology.

One striking takeaway from our first quarter of data for these attributes, highlighted in a recent white paper, “The Tech Tide Has Turned: Consumer Perceptions of Technology at Restaurants,” is the extent to which younger consumers prioritize tech amenities in their decisions to visit restaurants. This pattern in the data reinforces the fact that Millennials’ attitudes toward and usage of technology set them apart from other generations.  Amenities such as free Wi-Fi, online ordering, mobile payment and loyalty programs, which are increasingly managed digitally, are considerably more important to these digital natives than the average consumer.

Source: The Tide Has Turned: Consumer Perceptions of Technology in Restaurants, Technomic Inc.

Source: The Tech Tide Has Turned: Consumer Perceptions of Technology at Restaurants, Technomic Inc.

Across all four restaurant segments we track, Millennials place a heavy emphasis on these amenities. This always-on generation doesn’t just look for free Wi-Fi, online ordering and mobile payment from limited-service restaurants, where these amenities are currently more widespread—they hold full-service operators to the same standard.  Additionally, half of Millennials say loyalty points and rewards play a role in their decision to visit restaurants, regardless of price point.

Appealing to Millennials goes way beyond what’s on the menu. An operator’s ability to effectively integrate technology into the guest experience and to reward consumers for their loyalty goes a long way with this generation. In this competitive take-share market, operators must innovate in this area—or risk losing share to competitors who got there first.

To see which restaurant brands’ technology capabilities are rated highest by their consumers, you can download the full white paper here.

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Colleen Rothman

Colleen Rothman is a Consumer Research Manager at Technomic Inc. She manages the Consumer Brand Metrics program, which delivers exclusive consumer attitudes toward and usage of 100+ leading restaurant chains, retailers and convenience stores.

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