5 Ways Generations Use Coupons at Quick-Service Restaurants

Boomers, Gen X, millennials and Gen Z; families with children and those without. How does each of these generations find deals for dining out — or do they look for discounts at all? RMS surveyed more than 790 people across the US to find out. Here are the top 5 takeaways from our research.

1. Almost everyone is coupon hungry

Across all generations, if a restaurant is running a promotion, more than 2 in 3 diners agree they’re more likely to visit. The generations more likely to respond positively to promotions? Millennials and Gen Xers.

2. Younger generations are value chasers

They’re also known as “active seekers”: These guests are already engaged on the buyer’s journey (they’re hungry) and actively looking for deals, primarily online. They believe that coupons offer good value for their money, and if they can redeem one, they’re more likely to dine out and even try new menu items.

Conversely, if a QSR similar to their usual go-to offers a coupon and yours doesn’t, watch out. The exit door may hit them on the way out as they trade out, swapping loyalty for savings and choosing the restaurant that offers the best deal.

Get the complete report: What’s Driving Traffic in Q3 2022? Perspectives on Promotions and Coupons.

3. Older generations lean on loyalty

Like their younger counterparts, older generations appreciate coupons for their value. But they differ in how they find discounts. Older generations don’t actively seek deals. Instead, they rely on brands’ push-marketing efforts to serve up coupons, with a strong preference for offline channels such as receiving coupons in the mail.

QSRs can double down on boomers’ brand and item loyalty (they’re less likely to switch restaurants based on who offers the most value) as long as you meet their preference for coupons that offer regular items at a discounted price.

4. Single households are loyal — but don’t share

When households with no children use coupons, they do so as a way to try new menu items for less. Even in the face of a competitor coupon, single households will stick with their QSR of choice, but might draw the line at passing on the savings. RMS found that single households are less willing to share coupons with others.

5. Family households don’t want to spend too much

Saving money takes precedence among families with multiple mouths to feed, and it shows in their behavior. Get a coupon in front of a parent or caregiver, and the likelihood of them choosing your brand increases. Want to grow their frequency even further? Families responded that they’d visit more often if a QSR runs a promotion.

New menu items become more appealing to families if attached to a coupon. When it comes to loyalty, again, savings trumps affinity. Like those younger generations, this demographic has no problem choosing a similar restaurant over their usual choice if they can use a coupon. And if multiple coupon options are available, all bets are off — their order will go to the restaurant with the best deal.

How RMS can help your QSR

Generations and households are unique, and a one-size-fits-all approach to gaining their business and loyalty will fall short. To win in today’s inflationary environment requires data-driven solutions laser-focused on specific guest patterns and preferences. RMS can help your brand determine the best way to reach each of your customers based on the factors that matter most. Reach out today with questions. We’re here to help.

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