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The Next Generation

Marketers and restaurateurs have had their focus on the Millennial generation for years. It’s time for them to move on over because there is a new demographic cohort.

Gen Z is the next group of consumers and as they are entering adulthood and starting to earn their own money, they are making a significant impact on the restaurant industry! Read below to find out more about this group that is

coming of age.


Who is Gen Z?

Also known as the iGeneration, these individuals were born in the mid-90’s to early ’00s. Born into an era of technology and living through a recession, this group is tech-savvy, cautious and socially conscious. Their limited budgets and lack of patience make quick service restaurants the most frequented but fast casual concepts are competing for their dollars as well. Technology and restaurants go hand in hand when it comes to Gen Z. Their orders are placed online, Snapchat is their app of choice during the meal and Twitter’s 140 characters or less is all they need to provide feedback about their recent experience.


What Operators Need To Know

The most important restaurant attributes for Gen Z include food taste and flavor, utensil

cleanliness and food quality. But when compared to other generations, this group under-indexes all others when asked about the importance of, locally sourced ingredients, unprocessed foods, grass-fed proteins and authentic ingredients. However, they still demand transparency and support brands whose values align with their own. As a result of the growing multicultural population, people are experimenting with and willing to try flavors that were once unfamiliar. Children and teenagers are visiting their friend’s houses where they are trying foods that are different from their own. Gen Z is no different and is mostly likely to seek out new flavors to please their palates (Restaurant Business, Consumer Report: How to Win Gen Z’s Loyalty).


Give Them What They Want

1. Offer Snacks – Gone are the days of eating three round meals. Operators should offer quick bites and small meals to cater to those who prefer to snack.

2. Integrate Technology – Operators should explore online ordering and delivery service options. More and more people are choosing to eat take out at home watching Netflix versus sitting in a restaurant.

3. Stay Connected – Some Gen Z’s came into this world the same year Google was founded. Today, they are constantly connected to friends, family and their favorite brands. Operator’s social media messaging should be strong, interactive and fun.

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