How To Appeal To Generation Z With Your Restaurant

Appeal To Generation Z

Generation Z is all about having what they want, when they want it.

Marching on to the restaurant scene is Generation Z. Before we dive into how your restaurant can appeal to Generation Z, let’s first break down just exactly who this group is so we can understand what motivates them.

Generation Z, sometimes called the iGen after Apple products, loosely includes people born in the mid-to-late 1990s or after. They make up nearly 26% of the American economy.

This generation is highly connected having grown up using not only digital media and the Internet but touchscreens, tablets and smartphones. They are emoticon and emoji experts. They’ve been using YouTube as if they created it themselves. Generation Z prefers text messaging and instant messaging over picking up the phone.

Generation Z creates the trends. They want the whole experience, and they want to share it on SnapChat and Instagram. They’d rather spend their money on new adventures and experiences rather than climbing the corporate ladder.

According to Technomic, Generation Z is all about having what they want, when they want it. Technology and speed of service are important. They want to visit restaurants that offer the newest, most unique foods; they are open to a broad range of flavors and experiences.

Generation Z is the first generation to know complete and total instant access to online information. They use technology as a means of communication, not as an escape from the world as seen in previous generations. Social media helps them communicate – they are open about their values, wants and wishes. They are the trendsetters, yet they also care deeply about their local communities and those abroad.

Additionally, this generation packs a power punch of buying power. According to the Generational Consumer Trend Report, 68% of Generation Z consumers (ages 13-21) and 73% of older Generation Z consumers (ages 18-21) already eat out once a week.

The restaurant industry is especially important for this group because it provides a place to socialize and study while it’s an easy food source for this group of ultra-busy people. Generation Z has grown up eating out and will likely continue.

So, just how do today’s restaurants appeal to this young group? Let’s highlight a few of the ways you can appeal to Generation Z with your restaurant:

Harness Technology

If there was one word to sum up how your restaurant can appeal to this generation, it would be technology. You’ve got to jump on board if you are going to keep up with this up-and-coming population. We’re talking about high-tech service, moving visuals and amplified experiences.

Start with your menu. It should first and foremost be offered online on your mobile friendly website. Since the Generation Z folks spend a great percentage of their digital time on their smartphones, they will not tolerate a website that isn’t mobile-friendly. Remember they want what they want when they want it. If your site loads slow or your menu isn’t in an easily digestible format, odds are they’ll find somewhere else to eat.

Digital table ordering is next on your list of technology to-dos. Let’s consider Panera Bread company. In some cities, they now have two options for ordering: a table kiosk or a mobile app. Automatic table ordering attends to Generation Z’s need for instant access while it allows your restaurant less errors and quicker table turn around.

Mobile apps are already big on the scene. It’s time you have one. Apps allow your Generation Z customers to order before they even arrive at your restaurant. Starbucks already does nearly 15% of its business through mobile payments. Capitalize on this now as it will only get bigger as the Generation Z group ages.

If you aren’t active on social media, make it a priority because that is where the Generation Z folks are. Even if some of them are too young to get themselves to your restaurants, they are major family influencers, and they can get their parents out the door. Use high-tech experiences, visuals and the latest hashtags.

Lastly, make sure your restaurant is free Wi-Fi enabled. Wireless Internet access plays a significant role in Generation Z’s restaurant choices. Even though they are out to lunch with their friends, they’ll still be talking to said friends on their mobile devices! You’ll attract more people and generate more revenue if your restaurant is a hotspot.

Generation Z and Their Parents

Generation Z influences where their family eats.

Concentrate on Natural, Organic and Sustainable

Natural, organic and sustainable are magic words to the Generation Z crowd looking for a place to eat. (tweet this)

Your restaurant’s actions and efforts towards sustainability will correlate directly to how Generation Z feels about your brand. They are highly aware of your impact on the planet and its future, so it stands to reason that they won’t be as likely to eat at restaurants that don’t fully define their sustainability plan.

Make diners aware of your natural, organic and sustainability efforts, and you’ll engage and appeal to them. You’ll probably grab some of their parents in the process as they influence the older generation.

Provide an Experience

The Generation Z group likes a unique restaurant experience that makes them feel good. (tweet this) Hence the popularity of coffee shops for this under 25 crowd. The specialty coffee experience gives them a sophisticated place to hang out with their friends. It appeals to their sense of community.

This group would rather spend money eating out and sharing Instagram photos of the unusual coffee or global-infused meal they just tried. Generation Z already has a reputation as pleasure-seeking consumers. They will buy something simply to feel something, and more importantly to share what they feel. Appeal to them by creating a unique food experience.

If they enjoy the experience your restaurant provides, you can be sure they’ll share it online. They want to act, share their stories and learn from each other. This is why catering to this group is so important. Their organic marketing can make or break your reputation.

As a final thought, watch and listen to what Generation Z is saying. Whether they live in your own house, or you are watching them on social media, pay attention. They are tapped in to the pulse of today. Don’t sell to them in the traditional way. Involve them in the process through social awareness and technology. Give them the experience they crave, and you just might find their loyalty is a boon to your bottom line.

Do you want to create a responsive, mobile-friendly website for your restaurant? Count on Restaurant Engine to help. Contact us today for your complimentary consultation and let us show you how quickly we can build you an easily manageable website with an online menu to appeal to Generation Z.

Images: Daniel Foster and Ed Yourdon

Free Checklist For Your Restaurant!

5 Steps to Attract More Customers With Your Website

Get Your Free Checklist!
Restaurant Customers Dining