If you are in the restaurant business and are bent on deploying more technology, you’re on the right track. And if you ever wonder how much technology is enough, a recent survey by Oracle Hospitality that covered millennials in eight countries, suggests you’re not there yet. In fact, the report reveals that 94 percent (yes, ninety-four) of millennials today use their smartphones in restaurants. 32 percent of those surveyed who also worked in hospitality in the past five years also said their employers “made bad use of technology”. Some would be your servers.
The ultimate message is, unless restaurants redefine their service and deliver technology to align with customer and staff expectations, at least the millennial portion of their audiences will go somewhere else. Both clients and staff.
The millennial generation is a critical group that any full service restaurant of substance must retain, it if intends to be there for the long haul.
Here is why.
Millennials (those born between 1981 and the late 1990s) represent the largest generational demographic in the U.S. This 83 million-strong group outnumbers baby boomers and Gen Exers, and controls US$200 billion in annual spending power. A large subset of the population to pay attention to, irrespective of what your current client profile is.
This group, a least in the United States, has also reached legal drinking age. They are wine-curious, an area critical to a restaurant’s bottom line. After all, it’s all in the numbers.
According to Wine Market Council ORC Segmentation Survey June ’15 data we covered in a recent article, a millennial consumes 2.4 glasses per wine drinking occasion vs. 2.1 by Gen Xers, 2.0 by Baby Boomers and 1.6 by the older generation. That’s a whopping 20-45 percent more, depending on which group you benchmark against.
In addition, there is significant technology and service delivery gap in this group’s expectations that translates into a major opportunity for restaurant operators who take action.
To wit, 52 percent of the U.S. millennials surveyed by Oracle said they wanted to manage loyalty programs on their mobile devices. But only 23 percent of them had already done so. 39 percent of the respondents had already ordered food via a mobile device, while 56 percent said they wanted to do that. And 44 percent wanted to pay by mobile, when just 30 percent said they had experienced that.
With most millennials using smartphones in restaurants, 32 percent of hospitality staff up to 36 years old thinking their employers make bad use of technology, and millennials having the spending capacity and tendency to consume more wine, the next big opportunity to better service and profit from the largest generation of all time is to incorporate smart, engaging wine technologies into your plans.