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AlixPartners Survey Reveals 40% of Consumers Haven't Joined a Restaurant Loyalty Program

AlixPartners, a global business advisory firm, announced the results of a recent survey it conducted of 1,008 adults from all major regions across the United States during Feb. 14-16. Among other things, the survey asked participants to discuss restaurant/foodservice technologies. What it found was that not all high-tech is either created equal or is of equal value to all consumers.  For instance, more than twice as many millennials as baby boomers in the survey, 42% vs. 18%, said they find technologies “very” or “extremely” influential to their decision to dine out. By the same token, though, mobile technologies appear to be slow to catch on, as 42% of respondents reported that they’ve never used mobile technology for dining-out. In fact, according to the survey online ordering and free WiFi inside the eatery still remain the top-two technological influencers for diners, chosen as being “very” or “extremely” influential by 40% and 35% of respondents, respectively.
Loyalty programs, digital and otherwise, appear to have slow consumer adoption. Only 19% of consumers in the survey said loyalty programs are “very” or “extremely” influential in their decision where to dine out. (However, that does represent a 5-percentage-point increase over the results in AlixPartners survey last year.) Meanwhile, 40% of consumers in this year’s survey said they haven’t joined a loyalty program, which is almost the same as the 42% in last year’s survey. However, those who are loyalists appear to be using more programs regularly, with 36% of respondents saying they are using two or more programs regularly, up 5 percentage points from last year’s survey results.  
“Technology continues to be a mixed bag in the restaurant industry,” said Eric Dzwonczyk, managing director at AlixPartners and co-head of the firm’s restaurant, hospitality, and leisure practice.  “There still doesn’t appear to be a lot of consumer ‘pull’ for many technologies, as food quality and price trump everything else.  On the other hand, though, millennials generally crave new technologies, so going forward the challenge may be how to balance diverse technologies preferences across consumer groups, without compromising service and operations along the way.”
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