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Younger Restaurant-Goers Take Advantage of Mobile Offerings

Most find mobile internet orders improve the dining experience

November 12, 2012

In the US, mass ownership of smartphones has made the mobile internet a normal part of life for a large chunk of the population, and when on the go, one key activity for many consumers is a basic biological one: finding the next meal.

The most popular activity for mobile users searching for restaurant info is simply finding a place to eat nearby, but many users also go beyond that. Young internet users are especially likely to associate their phones with food, with 32% of US millennials reporting to Technomic in August that they had checked menus on their phones.

Gen Xers were about half as likely to do so, and just 8% of baby boomers said the same. A similar generation gap was present for other digital activities associated with restaurants, including following them on social media and checking in via mobile apps.

Digital Restaurant Activities of US Internet Users, by Generation, Aug 2012 (% of respondents in each group)

Looking up menus was most popular among all age groups, likely because it’s also the most practical activity. Checking in may be fun, and even useful if restaurant-goers are looking to meet up with friends, but it won’t help you decide what to eat any faster.

One thing that might is the ability to order ahead via mobile phone, typically used at quick-service or fast-casual restaurants. Nearly a quarter of US smartphone and tablet users reported having done so in a September survey by Prosper Mobile Insights.

US Smartphone/Tablet Users Who Have Used a Mobile Device* to Place an Order Ahead of Time at a Restaurant, Sep 2012 (% of total)

More than six in 10 respondents said ordering ahead of time improved their dining experience at least a little bit (including 29% who said their experience was “a lot better”).

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Check out today’s other articles, “Tiny Tablets Get a Leg Up” and “More Tablet Owners Mean More Mobile Activity in Spain.”


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