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Millennials are notorious for their smartphone obsessions, love of social media and frugal spending habits. They account for one-quarter of the nation’s population, all between the ages of 16-34.

These statistics paint a clear picture: Millennials wield significant spending power. This generation poses a huge revenue opportunity for restaurants, especially those who ramp up their technology amenities.

56% of Millennials cite that loyalty programs are very important to their dining experience. Slightly fewer than half of Millennials polled believe free Wi-Fi and online ordering are necessary for restaurants.

Let’s look at a few ways restaurants can improve their technology to entice the millennial diner:

Loyalty Programs

Restaurant loyalty programs are an important tool for engaging with Millennial customers. Many Millennials prefer to receive discounts or rewards for repeat business, so offering a loyalty program can be a great way to build customer relationships and loyalty. Consider adding features such as points accumulation and special rewards tiers that provide additional incentives for loyal customers. Additionally, make sure to give Millennials the chance to track their rewards status and redeem points directly from your restaurant’s mobile or online applications.

Another way to redeem rewards is through QR codes that lead to websites, social media profiles, or promotions. Restaurants can offer these promotions online with the ability to redeem them on a mobile device to create a seamless dining experience for Millennials.

Online Ordering

Online ordering is becoming increasingly popular among Millennial customers, with statistics showing that 40% of Millennials restaurants visits are for takeout. Restaurants should capitalize on this trend by offering delivery services, as well as convenient online and mobile ordering options for Millennials who often favor these platforms. Additionally, make sure to have an easy to use website design, so that customers can navigate through your menu quickly and securely.

Millennials also appreciate being able to customize their online orders to suit their tastes. Chipotle has capitalized on this market with a menu that allows customers to order customized burritos online at a consistent price no matter how many ingredients they add. The increasingly popular “build-your-own” model was up 22% in sales in 2014.

Mobile Pay

Restaurants are just starting to embrace the trend of mobile checkout, payment and ordering, according to Fast Casual. For cafes and quick service restaurants, such as Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and Burger King, there is huge potential for millennial engagement with a mobile payment offering.

To be successful with mobile, brands should find ways to engage their users on mobile beyond just payments.

When Starbucks integrated a loyalty program into their mobile wallet, their success skyrocketed. Coupled with a 2D barcode that fit existing POS systems at cafes and a simple to use app, the mobile wallet became incredibly popular with their customer base.

By October 2013, just four years after launching the mobile app, 11% of sales were coming through the mobile wallet. This was equivalent to four million mobile payments per week with eight million consumers using the mobile app to pay.

Final Thoughts

Though a tech-savvy restaurant atmosphere will likely bring more Millennials in to dine, they’re not the only ones who appreciate connecting with restaurants on their smartphones.

Research shows that a significant percentage of baby boomers also use computers and smartphones to view menus, look up locations, and order food from their favorite restaurants.

How does your restaurant use technology to attract millennial customers?

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