Gen Z, those born after 1998—successors to Millennials—are estimated to have a buying power of $44 billion. Gen Z commands an estimated 40% of all consumer shopping. Why does this matter for restaurants? Because Gen Z also loves to dine out frequently, specifically in large groups and are of the “snap first, eat later” generation—meaning they share their every move on social platforms particularly Snapchat and Instagram.
With this much influence, restaurants need to woo Gen Z inside their doors. Here are a few trends and tips for getting Gen Z’s attention.
Do you have an active social and online presence?
Gen Z relies on the internet for all their information. They love their smartphones and with short attention spans, if you aren’t staying current on their social media feeds, particularly Instagram, then you are irrelevant in their world. Having a strong social presence isn’t as difficult or expensive as you might think, user-generated content is free of charge and is a great way to build your following (with permission of course). Here is how you do it:
- Encourage sharing by creating a space that has a beautiful or interesting aesthetic
that is share-worthy
- Offer unique, visually appealing dishes that must be talked about
- Encourage tagging by maintaining an environment that is “the place to be”
Are you engaging in influencer marketing?
Where previous generations responded to celebrity marketing and influence, Gen Z is much more receptive to more relatable social influencers. So much so, that they have even gone as far as to break them into 4 categories.
- In-between cultural shapers
Micro-influencers carry the most weight when it comes to social media for restaurants. They are highly niche, localized individuals that sustain higher engagement rates than their macro-influencer counterparts. Leverage relevant foodie bloggers in your area—creating a united partnership with these influencers will attract Gen Z’s attention and generate authenticity of your reputation.
Are you providing a socially responsible experience?
For Gen Z, everything is about the experience—but also of high importance is whether or not something aligns with their ideals about social responsibility and their desire to make a positive impact in the environment. Ways Gen Zs look for places that align with their philosophies include:
- Menu options that are health-conscious and help to sustain the environment
- Sustainable food waste management
- Supporting causes aligned with their business activities
- Use of emerging technologies
While fast-casual is their preferred dining option, 67% of Gen Z also care about the nutritional content of their food. “Fresh, organic, sustainable” gets them in the door, and ingredient transparency is crucial to keeping them. They place high priority in supporting locally sustained ingredients from local farmers. Recycling and composting, selling non-GMO foods, and phasing out non-recyclable plastics are among the other practices Gen Z seek out in a restaurant.
Giving back is important to Gen Z, “A survey by Clutch reporting that consumers expect food-related businesses like…restaurants (62%) to commit to causes that are aligned with their business activities.” 71% of consumers want restaurants to address food insecurity by feeding those in need. Donating left over food or day-old bread to a local food pantry is noteworthy.
Gen Z has never not had instant access to technology, so it would make sense that they support and look for the use of emerging technologies in their dining experiences. Anything that can be automated such as the use of tablet POS or online ordering attracts Gen Z.
Attracting Gen Z is half the battle, keeping them engaged with your restaurant long-term is key. Are you prepared to cater to the “want it all” mentality of Gen Z? The first step is to equip your restaurant with the right tools for success.
Contact the experts at Focus to learn more about restaurant management techniques and tools.