Foodservice loyalty varies by generation

by Bryan Salvage
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CHICAGO — Most foodservice operators' success depends on repeat patronage. But guests' intent to return, as well as their reasons for doing so, differ considerably by each generation, according to a recent white paper using data from Technomic's Consumer Brand Metrics (CBM) program.

Titled "Keep 'Em Coming Back: Customer Loyalty and What Drives a Generation to Return," the white paper states more consumers report they will return in the near future to Papa Murphy's Pizza and In-N-Out Burger than any other restaurant tracked. Papa Murphy's scores are driven by Generation X and Baby Boomers, while more Millennials say they'll soon return to In-N-Out Burger.

"Millennials are looking for restaurants that not only satisfy their hunger, but that they can feel good about," says Darren Tristano, Technomic executive vice president. "Older consumers, on the other hand, place a higher priority on atmosphere and service."

Other study highlights include:
• More consumers strongly agree that "I will return to this restaurant in the near future" for Papa Murphy's Pizza (54 percent) and In-N-Out Burger (52 percent) than for any other restaurant tracked in the program. Although limited-service chains, which are visited more frequently in total, usually outperform full-service concepts on this attribute, Cracker Barrel (46 percent) and Texas Roadhouse (44 percent) rank in the top 15 restaurants overall.
• In-N-Out Burger is the chain most likely to be revisited among Millennials. This group places greater emphasis on the concept's brand image, agreeing more strongly than other generations that In-N-Out Burger supports local community activities, offers new and exciting products and is an innovative brand.
• Gen Xers and Boomers are more likely to indicate they'll revisit Papa Murphy's soon. Generation X rates the brand most favorably on cleanliness, convenient location and beverage quality, while Boomers score the chain most highly on service attributes, such as staff friendliness and payment handling.
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