According to the study by marketing firm Aimia, over a quarter of 18-24 year olds in the UK are members of a restaurant or coffee shop reward scheme.
This compares to just 16 per cent of 45-54 year olds.
Subway, Costa and Nando’s were the three most popular loyalty schemes among young people, followed by Café Nero and Starbucks.
Restaurants are being encouraged to cash in on this ‘captive audience’ by offering tailored discounts and rewards to their young fan base – who are more likely to try a wider range of restaurants and cuisines.
Jan-Pieter Lips, president of international coalitions at Aimia, said: “Millennials are a key market segment for restaurants. Our research shows they are willing to share their information with restaurants in return for offers and rewards which are tailored to their preferences and habits.
“This will strengthen restaurants’ long-term relationships with millennials, enabling brands to benefit from this captive audience.“
However, Aimia warned that restaurants should avoid alienating tech-smart older customers with greater spending power.
According to research by QikServe, the ‘grey pound’ accounts for £320bn in spending on hospitality each year, up £100bn in nine years.
“Our data shows the opportunity for restaurants to engage with older generations is as yet under-utilised,” said Lips.
The top 5 loyalty schemes among millennials, by percentage customer membership:
Costa Coffee Club 54%
Nandos Loyalty Card 46%
Caffe Nero Loyalty Card 35%
My Starbucks Rewards 26%