Millennials and Gen Zers Embrace the Digital Revolution in Food Ordering

In our contemporary, high-speed culture, where technology holds a crucial position in our day-to-day existence, it’s hardly astonishing that millennials and Generation Z are at the forefront of adopting the digital transformation in the realm of food ordering. Through the emergence of self-service kiosks, these adept generations are reshaping the methods by which we place orders for and savor our meals.

The Rise of Self-Service Kiosks

Self-service kiosks at fast food restaurants have been around for quite some time, with brands like McDonald’s, Panera, and Taco Bell implementing this technology as early as 2003. However, it was during the coronavirus pandemic that the integration of kiosks became more prevalent. The onset of indoor dining bans forced fast food chains to focus on digital ordering, drive-thru service, and automation features like kiosks.

According to a study conducted by Vita Mojo in partnership with KAM, over four-fifths (84%) of Generation Z and millennials prefer visiting restaurants with self-serve kiosks over those without. This preference is even higher among Gen Z, with 95% of them choosing kiosks in fast food outlets. The popularity of kiosks can be attributed to several key factors.

Access to Menus and Ease of Selection

One of the main reasons why millennials and Gen Zers prefer self-service kiosks is the ease of accessing menus and making selections. The study found that 63% of respondents find it easier to browse the menu on a self-serve kiosk compared to traditional menu boards. This number rises to 77% among Gen Zers. Furthermore, 61% of customers feel that kiosks make it easier for them to choose what they want, with Gen Z and those aged 25-34 showing the highest preference at 82% and 86%, respectively.

Speed and Convenience

Another significant advantage of self-service kiosks is the speed of ordering. A staggering 83% of respondents believe that using a self-serve kiosk is quicker than ordering and paying through a staff member. This speed and convenience factor greatly appeals to millennials and Gen Zers, who value efficiency and seamless experiences.

Enhanced Customer Experience

Self-serve kiosks also offer benefits in terms of the overall customer experience. For instance, 51% of customers prefer kiosks because they feel less likely to be judged about what they order. Additionally, 56% of customers feel more relaxed when using kiosks compared to interacting with staff members. These factors create a more comfortable and enjoyable dining experience for millennials and Gen Zers.

Increased Revenue Opportunities

The benefits of self-service kiosks extend beyond customer satisfaction. According to the research, 64% of customers would order more, 61% would spend more, and 64% would visit more often if self-serve kiosks were available. These findings highlight the revenue-generating potential of implementing kiosk ordering systems in restaurants. By offering a more convenient and personalized experience, restaurants can tap into the spending power of millennials and Gen Zers.

Overcoming Challenges and Embracing the Future

While self-serve kiosks have gained popularity among millennials and Gen Zers, it is essential to address the challenges associated with this technology. The research reveals that 20% of customers aged 55+ have never had a good experience with kiosks, compared to only 3% of Gen Zers. To ensure inclusivity and accessibility, proper implementation and customer support are crucial. Having staff members available to assist those who are less tech-savvy can enhance the experience and help customers reap the benefits of speed and ease of selection.

In response to changing customer preferences, major restaurant chains are actively embracing digital ordering solutions. DoorDash, for example, launched DashPass for Students, offering a lower-cost version of its membership program specifically targeted at college and university students. Similarly, Grubhub has partnered with Starship Technologies to provide on-campus robotic delivery services, catering to the student demographic. These initiatives reflect the industry’s commitment to meeting the evolving needs of millennials and Gen Zers.

The Future of Food Ordering

As we look to the future, it’s clear that self-service kiosks and digital ordering solutions will continue to shape the restaurant industry. Millennials and Gen Zers, with their affinity for technology and desire for convenience, are driving this shift. Restaurants that prioritize customer expectations and adopt innovative technologies will stand out in the competitive landscape, attracting and retaining these influential consumer groups.

In conclusion, the rise of self-service kiosks and digital ordering systems presents exciting opportunities for restaurants to enhance customer experiences, increase revenue, and streamline operations. By embracing the preferences of millennials and Gen Zers, restaurants can position themselves at the forefront of the digital revolution in food ordering. As the industry evolves, collaboration between restaurant operators, technology partners, and customers is essential to creating a seamless and rewarding dining experience for all.



Mo Sloan, EZ-Chow Founder
Click to learn more about Mo Sloan

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