A key finding of our first Millennial study was the mantra, "Useful is the new cool." In our follow up study, "Millennials as New Parents: The Rise of a New American Pragmatism," this mantra still applies, but with Millennial parents there's a new tune. Now, it's "useful is the new essential." Considering that Millennials make up 21 percent of Consumer Discretionary Purchasing Power in the US, companies should quickly take note.
In order to stay ahead of the competition, restaurant brands must embrace technology in a way that provides a useful interaction before, during and after in-store purchases. We know that Millennials are 2.5 times more likely to embrace new digital, social and mobile channels than their predecessors and that they possess the desire to have technology integrated into their customer experience. For these reasons, it is not enough for a brand to just use technology. A brand must innovate in ways that make their customer's experience seamless while incorporating technology.
Some restaurant brands are already incorporating innovative and useful tools to help enhance their customer's experience. Take Krispy Kreme's Hot Light as an excellent example. The app and online desktop widget tells its biggest fans when the donuts are "hot off the line". The app also allows users to set their preferred location and even provides directions to the nearest Krispy Kreme location. This is the perfect way to incorporate technology in an incredibly discrete and useful way.
Pizza Hut has recently announced a concept table to potentially be introduced as an in-store ordering experience. The concept is a tabletop touch screen that allows diners to custom order their pizza through browsing selections and selecting their size, crust and toppings. Even better, the customer can pay right there at the table and play games as they wait for their order to arrive. For families and large parties, this is a useful tool solving the problem of having to remember and recite their sizable and sometimes complicated order. For franchisees, this could be a cost-saving solution as most annually spend money replacing menus as options change.
These innovations may not work flawlessly, but each of the brands referenced are making strides to provide a more seamless purchasing experience by incorporating technology. Smart fast casual brands will continue to innovate and offer up solutions that will enhance their Millennial consumer's experience.
To learn more Millennial marketing trends be sure to attend Share.Like.Buy, the world's largest conference about marketing to Millennials, on June 17 in New York City.