millennials on mobile phone at eating fast food at QSR

Creating Brand Loyalty to Increase QSR & Fast Casual Sales Among Millennials

Three steps to create brand loyalty to increase sales with this coveted market that spends over $600B annually – and doubling to $1.2T by 2020.

Why Target Millennials?

The most desirable target market for marketers has often been adults 18-36 years old. Those that fit that target today and in the coming years are millennials (born 1982-2000). Millennials spend over $600B annually with average individual annual expenditures over $47,000/yr. Who doesn’t want to earn a healthy share of that?

Millennials have much more upside beyond right now. The younger side of the millennial age range is are coming out of college with a mountain of debt and other financial responsibilities, at which time they tend to be more responsible with their spending. That’s now and we’ll show you what offers get their business today.

However, the older side at 28 – 36 years of age they are moving into their prime spending years as student loans and debt are paid off. That makes them a key target market to engage now to build long term loyalty over time. Smart QSR and Fast Casual marketers can use today’s trends to not only increase revenue today, but position the brand for long term sustained growth as Millennials generate more wealth with spending predicted to reach $1.2 trillion in 2020. That’s tomorrow – where their loyalty will pay big dividends.

How to Attract Millennials to Your QSR & Fast Casual Brand

We researched the types of offers millennials respond to and the results revealed a Triple Threat to increase sales today and build loyalty for the long term.

#1 Attract New Millennial Customers with Discounts

First, we have to capture their attention. It’s no surprise to marketers that discounts work across a wide variety of offerings. Consider, however, that younger millennials are the portion of the market that may be burdened with student loans and debt and they need to save all the money they can. Smart marketers will use this to their advantage and offer relevant discounts to increase trial of your brand.

Millennials are known for taking advantage of technology to seek out the best prices. Marketers should make their offers easy to find on millennial’s mobile devices. A combination of local-focused SEO, social, paid placement and on-site offer prominence will do the trick.

How do you get a millennial with so many options to try your brand? A strong discount works. 52% of millennials surveyed said they would move from one major brand to another for a discount of at least 15%. If you’re going to execute this Triple Threat, I suggest going with 20%. While the additional 5% will add-up on a successful program, your brand will recoup that many times over in lifetime value of a customer when properly implementing step 2 – a loyalty program invitation.

#2 Keep Millennials Coming Back with a Points-Based Loyalty Program

Millennials are steadily adopting loyalty programs. Over 53% are enrolled in 1-3 QSR loyalty programs already. Of those engaging with loyalty programs, 68% said they would choose a QSR brand over another due to the presence of a loyalty program.

What’s even better? Loyalty programs attract the type of customers QSR and Fast Casuals need. 39% of customers enrolled in loyalty programs are willing to spend more on products even if there are cheaper options available elsewhere. For QSRs looking to add more frequent visits to their brand, think about breakfast offers.

The most popular loyalty mechanisms for millennials: points. Millennials want recognition – for all of the effort they put into a brand, sharing and consuming content, for how much they spend, and more. As the brand rewards them for their ongoing efforts with points, millennials like to redeem those points for a gift card or prepaid reward card or other cool stuff.

After you’ve captured the contact info for your millennial discount seeker, add them to an nurture campaign to get them to enroll in your program via a mobile app, which brings us to step 3 – mobile ordering.

#3 Mobile Ordering is the Way of the Future – That’s Actually Happening Now

52% of millennials used mobile ordering at least once, while only about 21% said they will not use the application in the future. That leaves about a quarter of the millennial population having potential to join the rapidly growing mobile ordering trend. Digital ordering will account for 11% of QSR sales by 2020. It makes sense for QSR and Fast Casual brands to adapt to this changing consumer behavior.

Millennials already use their mobile devices to make purchases. Make it easy for them to order from your brand. Millennials want to consume their favorite foods whenever and wherever they want, as well as order and pay for it with the click of a button. Use your app to give them what they want and they will give you want you want – repeat purchases.

One More Thing – the Data

Have a sound data strategy in place before you launch the triple threat. While it’s possible to shotgun discounts around the internet, while managing a subscription loyalty program on a disparate system and doing mobile ordering through Grubhub or a similar service, your brand won’t gain the most ROI out of the program without a sound data strategy. You need to have a unified customer view across all of these channels to really reap the rewards.

So there you have it – the Triple Threat. Offer a strong discount, followed by a loyalty program invitation that is managed through an app that provides mobile ordering – all based on a sound data strategy. Follow these steps with thoughtful communications and millennials will sense that your brand is in line with their ideals which will pay dividends as their spending power continues to increase.


About Response Labs Inc.

Response Labs is a team of marketers specializing in Digital CRM Marketing and from day one we have been committed to creating business solutions for our Clients, not just solving their marketing problems. We take into account all touch points where a target audience can engage with the brand––from traditional marketing channels and the latest in social media to the crew on a job site and customer service operators––and leverage all as marketing opportunities to build a better relationship with the customer. It is a philosophy that can be summed up in one, simple statement: Make Every Message Matter.

We are members of the Emerging Technology Center’s Haven Street facility in Baltimore and Galvanize’s Pioneer Square facility in Seattle.

Connect with us today and let’s work together.


Dan Dawes

A seasoned digital marketing strategist with 25 years of experience with the past 15 focused on leading the development of digital CRM as the core component to business growth. Experience covers many industries including manufacturing & construction, financial services, medical device manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, technology, CPG, transportation, healthcare, retail/franchise, education and associations. Response Labs is a digital CRM agency enabling clients to share their brands and experiences easily, quickly and with the most relevance. We have a dual focus split between building integrated marketing solutions for our clients, and developing our own products that bridge technologies, platforms and provide deeper user experiences and enhance relevant insights. Salesforce Partner and Solutions Integrator. Specialties: Digital CRM Strategy & Management, Mobile, Social, Search, Data & Analytics, Attribution/ROI/ROAS Tracking Follow on LinkedIn

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