The arrival of millennials into the consumer market has created a new customer. Restaurants have had to embark on a journey of continuous innovation to come up with better ways to serve up what this tech-savvy consumer is craving. The technological innovation introduced into the restaurant industry has driven customer loyalty, boosted revenue, created unique customer experience and, best of all, ensured restaurants are able to adapt to the needs of their target market and the changes within the industry.

But what digital news is next for restaurants? The next generation customer isn’t a faraway concern hidden in the future; the next generation consumer is already here, demanding a next generation customer experience.

The next generation customer

From online shopping to travelling, these socially connected customers have been spoilt for choice and convenience in every aspect of their daily lives. Everything is accessible at the touch of a button, and they expect the same kind of convenience from their dining options. They want the ability to customise orders, use technology to place orders, use apps to track loyalty points and they expect rewards for engagement.

The next generation customer experience

An analysis of a Deloitte survey of 3 000 millennial and 1 500 general population high frequency patrons suggests that restaurants create a “digital DNA”. Establishments should be viewing their restaurant as more than simply a brick and mortar building and give focus on how they are being represented in other areas as well. The study highlights stages of the customer journey and suggests integrating responsive digital experiences into each phase.

  • Entice
    Consumers like having some kind of creative control over their meals and being able to customise their order. Establishments can take advantage of this opportunity by offering interactive technology which they can use to create their own unique order.
  • Enter
    Patrons want a different way to input their orders rather than simply relating it to a server. Technology can bridge this gap while simultaneously decreasing the risk of human error. Fast casual establishments like McDonalds have rolled out self-service kiosks, but those in sit down restaurants can make use of tablets and mobile ordering.
  • Engage
    The next generation customer is hyper-connected and has a strong presence on social media. Restaurants can promote engagement by offering a small incentive or customer loyalty rewards for them posting on social media and using a certain hashtag or tagging your company profiles while they are in your store.
  • Exit
    The way your customer exits your store plays a big role in their satisfaction. Incorporate technology like mobile PoS to streamline checkout and payment and give them a fast and efficient exit.
  • Extend
    Reach out to your guests after they’ve visited your store to create returning customers. Offer them a future discount or promotion for answering a few multiple choice questions about their experience. You should also react to their engagement on social media.

A new kind of digital consumer means restaurants have the opportunity to capitalise on restaurant technology and use data analytics to engage their millennial patrons in a highly personalised way. Keeping up with the latest digital trends in the industry can increase dining frequency, bill amounts, customer retention and brand awareness.