How to maximize LTO promotion dollars

Breaking down different consumer demographics to entice trial

When consumers look for restaurant deals or promotions, TV still leads the charge, but younger consumers also focus on social media—49% of younger consumers look to TV for these promotions, while 45% look to social media. Older consumers are different altogether—with lower social media use, it’s important for restaurants to spend their promo dollars where they’ll get the most returns.

Generation Z

They’re a demographic restaurateurs are honing in on. They have disposable income and are relatively new to dining out on their own, so their loyalties may be up for grabs. When Gen Z looks at websites or apps for restaurant information, they do so on:

  • Facebook: 34%
  • Yelp: 32%
  • Instagram: 25%
  • YouTube: 24%
  • UberEats/Snapchat: 19%

Social media is a heavy-hitter for this generation. Burger King’s recent Pie made with TWIX® was marketed across several social platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to reach this audience and it worked. On Instagram it garnered more than 75,000 views, and on Facebook, more than 500 people shared the post. The pie features a creamy caramel whipped filling, topped with crumbled pieces of TWIX® Bars, all on a vanilla crumb crust.


Millennials are more likely to research menu information than other generations—42% say they look up which menu items are best or most popular, compared to 28% of Gen Xers and 16% of Baby Boomers. When Millennials look for restaurant information online, they use:

  • Facebook: 34%
  • Yelp: 31%
  • Groupon/GrubHub: 24%
  • Instagram: 18%

Additionally, 34% say they follow restaurants on social media sites, providing restaurants the opportunity to showcase their newest and most appealing LTOs on social platforms. For example, Little Caesars introduced its 5 Meat Feast pizza in September, and according to Technomic’s MenuSurf, 60% of consumers said they found it appealing and would consider purchasing it. On Instagram, a post featuring this savory pie (topped with mozzarella cheese and five meats: pepperoni, bacon, sausage, beef and ham) garnered more than 2,500 “likes,” and dozens of shares on other platforms including Facebook and Twitter.

Generation X

While Gen X didn’t quite grow up with social media, plenty do use it—but their interaction with restaurants on social media is more sharing photos of food on their own feeds than following restaurants. Gen X consumers use these top five apps or websites to research restaurants:

  • Facebook: 29%
  • Yelp: 27%
  • Groupon: 20%
  • GrubHub: 14%
  • YouTube: 12%

While 25% say they often take pictures of their food to post on social media, 37% say they never follow restaurants on social media. In essence, Gen X may be poised to share food or drinks that are Instagram-ready, but restaurants should showcase those items on platforms other than social media to ensure Gen X consumers find out about them.

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers use social media and the internet less than other generations when looking for menus and reviews of restaurants. But they do still use it, so it’s important to know which platforms they’re using. According to Technomic’s 2018 Generational report, when Baby Boomers look at websites or apps for restaurant information, deals and reviews, or to order food for takeout and delivery, they use:

  • Yelp: 16%
  • Facebook: 14%
  • Groupon: 14%
  • 12%

Boomers generally don’t follow restaurants on social media—in fact, 60% say they never do, so it may be easier to reach them via print ads, radio or television. However, 33% say they use mobile apps more frequently if the apps have a clean user-friendly interface and are easy to navigate.