Five Ways Restaurants Can Reach More Millennials

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In an age where coupons are readily available everywhere for nearly anything, and there are websites dedicated solely to giving people discounts, restaurants may need to step up their loyalty programs if they want to gain the business of Millennials. Are you debating on what your restaurant’s loyalty program should offer to appeal to Millennial-aged customers (ages 16-35)?

A survey conducted by the online resource site Software Advice found that this age group’s most desired reward is monetary discounts. If you’re unsure what type of discounts to offer, rather than choosing a random amount, take a look at these five loyalty program tips to help your restaurant best appeal to Millennials.

1. Don’t Limit Yourself to One Type of Reward

While most Millennials prefer monetary discounts, a good amount of them prefer a rewards system where they earn points based on how much money they spend. Combine both of these two to appeal to a large number of Millennials. As they spend money at your restaurant, they accrue points that can then be redeemed for a monetary discount on a future purchase. Not only does this give them the type of rewards that appeals to them, but it also gives them a reason to keep coming back to your restaurant.

It also may encourage them to spend more money per visit than if their purchase was not incentivised. For example, if you offer five points per $10 spent, and their total is at $15, they may add another drink or item menu to their order that they normally would have passed on to get those extra five points.

2. Consider Rewards that Appeal Emotionally to Millennials

The Millennial age group is a passionate one, and when there is a cause they care about, they will faithfully stand behind it. Figuring out what those causes are may take a little bit of research on your end. Check out what sort of social activism groups are active at your local college or university, send out a survey to your email list if you have one, or just ask the Millennial-aged customers who come into your restaurant what causes they support.

It may be as simple as offering specific vegan or vegetarian menu items, or aligning yourself with a social issue they support. These types of non-monetary rewards will not only build loyalty with Millennial customers, but it will also allow you to reduce the amount of monetary discounts you offer.

3. Get Feedback to See How Your Rewards Program is Doing

It might be easier for you to come up with one type of rewards program, implement it, then let it run its course. However, if you don’t check with your customers to see how your rewards program is performing, you might be missing out on the opportunity to improve it and gain new and repeat customers. Send out an email survey to your current loyalty program members, and ask them a few simple questions to see what they like and don’t like about the current loyalty program.

It may only require a of couple tweaks to your current program to make a big difference in business. If you’re concerned about not getting enough responses, you can make the survey itself worth a certain amount of points, a dollar off their next drink order, or the chance to win a prize.

4. Keep Loyalty Program Members Engaged

If you empty out your wallet right now, you’d probably find partially filled punch cards and other types of reward cards you forgot you had. Don’t let this happen to your loyalty rewards program by keeping your members engaged. The faster they gain points, the more interested they’ll be in your rewards program, so consider offering points for signing up, then a higher amount of points for their first visit.

You can utilize your email list to run promotions where certain days earn you double points, or a particular menu item is worth extra points for a day, and more. Promotions like these will encourage your loyalty members to come back, and you can also utilize them to try to increase the number of diners during slower business times.

5. Make Your Loyalty Program Mobile-Friendly

Millennials don’t do much without their phones, so it makes sense that your loyalty program is available on a mobile app. This will have a couple of benefits for you and your customers. It will make signing up easier for your customers, allow them to check their rewards points, and let them view your menu and prices quickly and easily. Things will be streamlined on your end since you can avoid the paperwork of hard-copy applications.

Not only will a loyalty rewards program attract the primary business of Millennials, but it can help you build meaningful relationships and provide positive experiences that will keep them coming back to you time and again. Following these five tips will help you develop a loyalty rewards program that will appeal to the Millennial age group and give your restaurant a boost.

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Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.

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We are on a mission to help local restaurants thrive in the new digital economy. Our blog is designed to give local restaurants best practices from some of the top restaurants in the world today. 


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