Design Loyalty Programs for Millennial Diners

March 2016

Gaining and maintaining the attention of millennial diners is becoming increasingly important, especially since the demographic will soon surpass baby boomers as the largest age group in the country. Serving millennial-friendly menu items is no longer enough to differentiate your operation. Operators are researching, planning and creating thoughtful loyalty programs to attract millennial diners and earn their business.

When it comes to millennial diners, not just any loyalty program will do. While research finds that monetary discounts are millennials’ preferred type of reward, it’s important to go one step further to gain the loyalty of this key demographic. Having the right mix of monetary and nonmonetary benefits is very important. You are more likely to win the hearts of this seemingly fickle demographic by making them feel respected and understood. Use these tactics to tailor your loyalty program:

  • Get social. Nearly 68% of millennials are not earning rewards for connecting with or engaging with a brand on social media. Show them that you respect their time and appreciate their efforts by rewarding a few points or offering a free appetizer for follows or likes on social channels.
  • Surprise and delight. Help your operation stand out and show millennials that you truly care about their interests by offering personalized rewards. Ask for feedback so you know your millennial diners’ favorite menu items and preferred times to visit. You can use this information to customize free meals or experiences for your guests.
  • Let the games begin. Gamified rewards programs are a big hit with the millennial demographic. It is being used more frequently to connect with younger diners and boost engagement. Try mobile-friendly loyalty program apps that allow diners to engage on the go.

Utilize your loyalty program to your greatest advantage by keeping the specific interests of millennials top of mind. Find more resources and browse Butterball’s Culinary Center for innovative recipe ideas.


Krummert, Bob. How to reach Millenials through loyalty programs, Restaurant Hospitality. January 7, 2016.

Loy, James. Millennials have a next-gen perspective on loyalty programs, Loyalty 360. August 7, 2015.

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