If there’s one thing that’s clear about the millennial generation, it’s their appetite for dining out (just look at your Instagram feed). As restaurants compete to stand out in today’s rapidly transforming food industry, it’s increasingly apparent that success relies on more than a trendy atmosphere and social media-worthy dishes. Restaurants need deeper insights into the preferences of all generations—including millennials—who are dining out.
With this in mind, Cayan – now a TSYS company – recently conducted a survey of 1,010 consumers nationwide between the ages of 18 and 65 to identify how a restaurant’s payment technologies — in ways both big and small — can make or break a customer’s dining experience. The harshest critic? Millennials.
Dining out isn’t losing it’s flavor
While going out to eat was once reserved for special occasions, it’s now become a regular activity: 75 percent of respondents are eating out at least once a week and 47 percent are doing so at least three times a week. What’s more, today’s diners have more choices than ever before— from quick serve, fast-casual, sit-down, takeout, food trucks, etc.
Why is all this information critical? Because of this one harrowing stat: 80 percent of restaurants risk failure in the first five years of opening. For that reason alone, it’s critical restaurants capitalize on the preferences of today’s diners —- from menu options to payment technologies and convenience aspects —- to create the best possible strategy for future success.
Payments Make a Difference
Because of this competition, every aspect of the dining experience is scrutinized by consumers. In addition to the food itself, the customer experience journey at a restaurant has become equally important, with stronger preferences beginning to develop across generations. One being payments: more than half of respondents (58 percent) consider a restaurant’s payment technology important.
According to the study, a modern payments experience is more than a “nice to have” — it’s table stakes. Nearly one third of respondents said that a payments experience has ruined a meal out for them and 32 percent said they would reconsider where they dine based on the payment technology the restaurant uses (or fails to use).
Serving up Speed and Security
Payments is a broad category — but we found that the keys to a satisfactory dining experience lie in the speed and security of the payments process itself.
With so many data breaches in the news, it’s understandable that 61 percent of respondents consider secure payments and processing the most important when dining out.. Customers want the peace of mind that comes with secure data, and on top of that, a data breach can have huge financial consequences for a brand — just look at the stock of some of the chains that have suffered breaches recently.
For about a third of respondents (32 percent), the speed of the transaction ranks just as important, and new technologies have the capability to significantly decrease the wait time associated with payments. Not only have EMV compliant payment processors sped transactions up to just a few seconds, technology like “Pay at the Table” — where the payment device is brought directly to the table — is also gaining traction.
Tech At The Table
Pay at the table has actually been present for years in Europe. Despite the lag
in adoption in the U.S., however, customers are hungry for this modern payment option. According to the survey, the majority of those who are frequent diners (69 percent) would prefer every restaurant to offer a pay at the table option, with 79 percent of those being frequent diners.
This modern take on the payments process isn’t just for the tech savvy millennials either — our data found that while 72 percent of millennials would prefer to pay this way, 69 percent of Gen X/Y and 66 percent of boomers opt for the option as well. While it hasn’t become a “do or die” situation yet, the appetite from consumers is there, and the sooner restaurants capitalize, the better chances are they won’t get left behind.