UK guest experience management company HGEM has conducted a survey into the UK’s eating out market revealing that 60% of millennials ‘fall in love’ with a brand through Instagram.

The results showed that Instagram was the most effective social media platform for restaurant brands, with 60% of millennials preferring it over other forms of social media such as Facebook (17%), Twitter (4%), Snapchat (3%) and YouTube (5%). These results suggest that operators should spend their marketing efforts on Instagram as a demographic.

UK bar and restaurant chain The Alchemist is cited as one example of a restaurant brand that uses Instagram effectively to boost footfall and support businesses through engaging and captivating content.

HGEM results: overall experience

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HGEM found that experience is still the most important factor for customers, stating that 82% would ‘dump’ a hospitality brand after a bad customer experience. However, 30% are willing to overlook bad reviews for a brand they are already invested in. The results show that millennials are less forgiving than older generations, with 66% of millennials saying they would never overlook poor speed of service.

HGEM founding director Sally Whelan said: “It is vital that hospitality operators understood their customers’ needs at all points of the consumer journey. Whilst an individual’s reasons to fall in love with a brand are not always obvious, the survey clearly demonstrates the importance of customer experience in the process. A positive experience can drive loyalty and strong brand engagement, driving repeat visits and sales.

“Front of house teams are often the key to unlocking the hearts and minds of customers; operators should make the most of this influence by introducing effective staff training and reward schemes.”

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Consumers also value brands that focus on ‘honesty, reliability and willingness to go above and beyond’ twice as much as brands that focus on being ‘fun’ and ‘social’. Statistics suggest that operators should focus on training their staff to understand the impact their role has on customer’s experience, as 72% of customers believe that a single team member has the power to influence their decision to fall in love with a hospitality brand.