Millennials may be a buzz-worthy topic for restaurants attempting to appeal to the masses, but it’s their successors who are thought to make a massive impact in the future of dining. Generation Z includes anyone born between 1996 and 2010, and according to The National Restaurant Association, these customers now represent 24% of total foodservice traffic. Unlike millennials, this generation grew up with technology as part of their everyday lives and base a lot of their food opinions off of the Internet and social media. With access to information on just about any consumer product, Gen Z is knowledgeable and mighty – the generation currently makes up one-third of the population! These consumers in their late teens and early twenties are a force to be reckoned with, and properly appealing to them can benefit your business. Take a look at some of the things that Generation Zs want from their dining experience so you can attract customers from this huge pool of restaurant-goers. 

Easy Access to Their Grub of Choice

As previously mentioned, Generation Z is quite a tech-savvy group. Choosing a restaurant without taking a peek at its menu online is almost unheard of for them. Be sure to update your website with an easily accessible menu featuring all of your restaurant’s latest options and use social media to showcase your stuff. Your digital presence is greatly important to this new group of diners.

The NPD Group also reported that Gen Z was the primary reason for a 35% increase in mobile and Internet orders during 2019. With the convenience of food delivery apps like Grubhub and DoorDash, this group of customers is using tech to alter the dining experience. 

Authenticity and Fresh Ingredients

A bland meat and potatoes dinner is of zero interest to Generation Z’ers. In fact, The NPD Group reported that these consumers show the strongest attraction towards “authentic” food. This can include authenticity in the form of ethnic restaurants or establishments that promote fresh and healthy ingredients. As noted in The National Restaurant Association’s “Hot List” detailing food trends for 2020, clean eating will play a major role in the dining scene this year. Chipotle recently hit the nail on the head with this one. They appealed to Generation Z’ers, who are already huge fans of fast-casual restaurants, by introducing their “Lifestyle Bowls.” These new menu items were designed to cater to the desires of those following various diets like keto and paleo. 

Bona Fide Marketing Tactics

Telemarketers beware: your hyper-engaged Gen Z consumers can sniff a bogus sales pitch from a mile away. This may be tough to hear, but these consumers don’t care much about what you have to say about your own restaurant. As avid Instagram and Yelp scrollers, Generation Z’ers would rather see the posts and reviews from customers to prove it. Social media influencers drive a hefty amount of sales towards products they endorse, and their followers value these recommendations as a trustworthy source of marketing. If your restaurant considers email blasts its primary form of advertising, it may be time to link up with an influencer to help direct more traffic your way. 

Since surpassing baby boomers as the biggest generation, Gen Z is expected to make a  sizable contribution towards foodservice sales. As this generation gets older, they will continue to be the driving forces within the restaurant industry, and gearing your restaurant’s menu and marketing technique towards them is crucial for promoting business. By considering the specific wants of this generation, your restaurant will capitalize on the influx of current and future potential customers.