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Baby Boomers vs. Millennials: Technology at the Dinner Table

5 May 2015 No Comment

canstockphoto19107056It’s no surprise that the use of technology like cell phones and tablets at restaurants is increasing. The reason for this is twofold. Restaurants are exploring different ways to incorporate technology into their business, and consumers, accustomed to having instant access to their favorite stores, expect restaurants to follow this technological trend. What may be surprising is the fact that it’s not just Millennials using restaurant technology anymore.

The National Restaurant Association reports that over one third of customers say they’re more likely to use restaurant technology now. However, while the millennial generation leads the way with a higher overall use of restaurant technology, the Baby Boomer generation isn’t too far behind. This trend requires a closer look at the changing dynamics of technology use in restaurants, especially considering the Baby Boomer generation’s growing interest in it.

Is the Technology Gap Closing?

A growing number of statistics appear to support the idea that Baby Boomers aren’t just using technology. They’re embracing it. While the fact that 90 percent of Millennials either own or regularly use a tablet or smartphone won’t cause anyone to blink, the notion that 60 percent of Baby Boomers use a smartphone regularly might. Additionally, Baby Boomers are showing a higher level of acceptance of technology; 26 percent say that they’re more likely to use restaurant technology options. Of course, the Millennials lead the way in this category with 53 percent.

How is Technology Used in Restaurants?

Baby Boomers are obviously catching up to Millennials in terms of amount of restaurant technology usage, but how do the two generations compare in how they use the technology? It turns out that they’re pretty similar, especially when it comes to paying their bills. 10 percent of Millennails and Baby Boomers use their smartphones to pay for their meals at least once a week.

Additionally, both groups use restaurant-branded apps to order delivery or takeout at least once a week, but the percentage from each group is relatively low: 12 percent for Millennials and eight percent for Baby Boomers. The numbers drop even lower for coupons and special deals redemption. Only 11 percent of Millennials and six percent of Baby Boomers use their smartphones to save money on their meals at least once a week.

However, in one area of restaurant technology use, Baby Boomers outrank Millenials. When it comes to looking up a restaurant’s nutrition information, 19 percent of Baby Boomers use their smartphones, while only 14 percent of Millennials do, too.

Make the Most of the Data

It’s obvious that customers, regardless of their age, are comfortable using technology, and they want to see restaurants implement it more. How can restaurants make the most of this increased interest in technology? Developing apps, offering customers the option of ordering and paying online, and providing special discounts and coupons for customers who use restaurant technology are all viable options that restaurants can investigate. One of the best ways restaurants can encourage baby boomers to use technology is to place nutrition information in their apps, or at least online. Technology is here to stay, and the restaurants that take advantage of the various ways it can help them communicate with their customers will more than likely notice an increase in patronage.

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