The Generation Gap in Restaurant Loyalty Programs


When it comes to restaurant loyalty programs, there is a generation divide.

According to PYMNTS research, 64% of Gen Z diners and 61% of millennials participate in these programs at at least one or two of the table-service restaurants they frequent.

For their parents and grandparents, it’s a different story: Just 37% of Gen X and 27% of baby boomer patrons do the same.

There’s also an income gap at play here too. Half of the respondents who earned more than $100,000 per year said they used restaurant loyalty programs, compared to about one-third of diners in the lowest income brackets.

Mobile Matters

Our research also learned that mobile technologies are crucial to consumer engagement, as half of patrons interact with their favorite restaurants’ loyalty programs through those restaurants’ mobile apps.

These apps are the most common way for table-service restaurant patrons to interact with a loyalty program, something 50% of loyalty program users reported doing, while at quick-service restaurants (QSRs), that number jumps to 60%.

The survey found similar numbers of consumers use loyalty programs at QSRs (42%) versus restaurants with table service (43%).

Close to 70% of QSR patrons use loyalty programs in several of the restaurants they purchase from frequently. At table-service restaurants, that number is a bit lower, with 64% of these clients using loyalty programs in several of the restaurants they dine with frequently.

Meanwhile, substantial numbers of the respondents to our survey said they consider order-related abilities (34%) and pickup related abilities (30%) as the two key features that would make them more likely to purchase if eateries made them available.

If you’d like to learn more about our findings from the world of restaurant loyalty programs, download your copy of the Digital Divide Report: Mind The Loyalty Gap, a PYMNTS and Paytronix collaboration.