Operators advised to get up to speed to capture the millennial market

Operators need to get up to speed and get mobile if they want to capture the millennial market, according to new research. The findings, by hospitality management solutions company Zonal Retail Data Systems and CGA Peach, showed 18 to 34-year-olds are increasingly influential, accounting for 28% of the UK adult population and 41% of “eating out” trade. They are prepared to use technology to search, browse, book, order and pay for their meals when dining out. The findings have been included in a white paper Get Smart To The New Wave with insight from sector specialists. The research also showed 55% of millennials believed social media has increased their awareness of eating and drinking out brands.

Meanwhile, 53% are interested in using their personal devices to speed up ordering and to pay for their bill. More than a quarter preferred to be updated on news, offers and menus from their favourite restaurants through their preferred digital channels, compared with only 3% of the over 65s. Nearly 40% used social media to find out about special offers while 45% of 18 to 24-year-olds participated in one or more loyalty schemes for their favourite dining destination.

Zonal chief executive Stuart McLean said: “Millennials live in a socially connected world with mobile technology at the centre of everything they do. The vast majority of 18-24s (87%) use social media every day and make decisions based on their digital usage. This new wave of consumers offers a great opportunity for operators; but to capitalise retailers will need to future proof their businesses using the latest technology. Never before have operators had the opportunity to know so much about their customers, their habits and what they order and when they visit. This invaluable information provides an unprecedented opportunity to target campaigns at individuals in order to drive frequency of visit and loyalty.”

CGA Peach vice-president Peter Martin added: “Pubs and restaurants need to respond to increasing demand from this influential age group by investing in the right technology and making sure that it’s relevant and can adapt not only for today but tomorrow’s customers.”