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Understanding millennial spending habits as a QSR marketing professional

When it comes to millennial spending habits, quick service restaurants (QSR) are in a strong position. Millennials are more willing than other generations to eat out, with 79% reporting they regularly spend money eating at restaurants. As such, their habits are influencing how QSRs market their offerings. QSR marketing professionals need to understand millennials’ unique spending habits to best serve this market of consumers.

millennial spending habits to knowMillennials offer a lot of opportunities for QSRs: They’re adventurous and willing to try new experiences when it comes to food. They view food as an experience, rather than mere fuel, and 81% of millennials report they examine new cultures through food. QSRs must also be willing to offer variety, affordability, and technology to truly connect with the millennial consumer.

Millennials: Open-minded and Seeking

Millennials don’t just view food as a necessity, they see it as an experience. QSRs must be prepared to deliver some kind of tasting experience through their food, and they need to highlight that in their marketing strategies. There are many ways to create a dining experience, including:

  • Over the top: Millennials are more than willing to try items that might be seen as indulgent. About 63% of millennials report they enjoy it when a brand offers an over-the-top menu item.
  • Cultural cuisine: Millennials are interested in exploring new cultures through cuisine. The recent emergence of QSRs focused on new cultural offerings, like Hawaiian and Indian foods, which were traditionally underrepresented in the QSR industry, seeks to address this interest.
  • Nostalgia: Comfort food also attracts millennials who want to re-experience flavors from their childhood. About 69% of millennials wish brands would offer foods designed to remind them of their youth.

Millennials are adventurous eaters, which means QSR managers for offbeat chains have an even greater opportunity to attract new consumers in the cohort. Keep in mind, however, that millennials remain highly focused on convenience.

The Millennial Quest for Quick and Convenient

Millennials snack more than their other generational counterparts. That leads to a lot of opportunity in the QSR market, as these restaurants are uniquely positioned to provide snack foods in a hurry. We’ve already seen several brands move to leverage this through:

  • Healthy-focused offerings: Millennials want to eat healthy, with about 67% reporting they seek healthy options at restaurants. Giving them a menu of quick, light snacks goes a long way towards gaining their loyalty.
  • On-the-go options: Millennials tend to eat on their feet, in that they’re eating while going somewhere, or at their desks, or simply while walking down the street. Foods like wraps that consumers can eat on the go are great options.
  • Multitask ready locations: While most millennials will eat off-premise, those who stay at a restaurant expect to have access to technology like WiFi, televisions and other display screens to keep them entertained. Using technology to enhance the QSR customers experience is becoming a necessity for restaurants seeking to cater to millennials.

On-the-go millennial consumers want to be able to eat quickly, yet when they do take time to sit down, they want to be entertained. Many QSRs are turning to technology to help in both improving the ordering process and in offering more in-restaurant entertainment options.

Maximizing on Millennial Spending Habits with Tech Driven Ordering Options

Millennials grew up with computers in their homes and came of age with the Internet, meaning that technology is an important part of their lives. In recent years, that need for tech has expanded into the QSR sector, as millennials seek out ways to make the ordering process more convenient.

Many QSRs have rolled out options to allow consumers to order via mobile phones and pick up their waiting order in person. These consumers can even pay by phone, further reducing wait times. As options like Uber Eats—a food delivery service that uses the ride-sharing app—become more popular, QSRs can even use them to offer delivery in new locations.

By leveraging mobile app advertising options, like shopping apps, QSRs can connect with millennials as they’re on the go

Another thing mobile technology can provide QSR marketing managers is marketing strategies with great potential for ROI. By leveraging mobile app advertising options, like shopping apps, QSRs can connect with millennials as they’re on the go and even share information on new products and offer rewards. With Shopkick, for example, a QSR can give a consumer rewards points just for walking in the door and can provide additional points for making certain purchases, all through a mobile-based platform.

Millennials are a very lucrative target market for QSRs because of how much money they spend eating out. They’re also willing to try new things, making it easier for brands to attract their attention—provided they offer millennials convenience and technology-based ordering. By using shopping apps, QSRs can even better capitalize on millennial spending habits and improve brand recognition and sales.

Shopkick helps our partners connect with millennial consumers as they’re on the go through our innovative app. To use our app to reach them, contact us.

Image courtesy Sonjachnyj