There are some new kids in restaurant town, and they’re called Generation Z.

Being anyone born after 1995, Generation Z now makes up around 26% of our population. Where Baby Boomers originally held the crown, Generation Z now reigns supreme as being the largest demographic and are taking charge with their spending habits. They are expected to account for about 40 percent of all consumers by 2020. Are you ready?

On-The-Go

Long gone are the days of scheduling a long, draw out dinner for two. Generation Z is all about fast & quick service and opts for eating on-the-move. They have also started the trend of “snacking” instead of adopting full meals at each course. In 2016, NDP reports that “afternoon snacking” is the strongest-performing meal occasion. More importantly, a whopping 1/5 of Generation Z’s budget goes to food. When it comes to dining out, they prefer to do it in large groups which means big-ticket tables for restaurants. Fast casual restaurants are the most ideal candidates for Generation Z since they already accomodate a majority of what this demographic is looking for which is something that is convenient, inexpensive, and customizable.

Be Where They Are

If you are used to attracting customers via traditional marketing (postcards, billboards, radio advertisements), consider your investments. To draw the attention of the popular Generation Z, you need to be quick, and you need to be available on channels where they are. On a weekly basis, Generation Z-ers most frequently check YouTube (12.2 times), followed by Instagram (7.7 times), Snapchat (6.9 times), Facebook (6.7 times), Twitter (4.6 times), Google+ (2.4 times), and Pinterest (2.3 times). When you plan your outreach message, your marketing needs to be short and succinct. Have fun with how you communicate to them so you connect with them on a more personal level. Social media is where you will find Generation Z. If you currently do not have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page, you’re missing out on opportunities to grow your business. To truly engage with this powerful demographic, you need to be posting daily and on all platforms.

Create a Memorable Experience

If a Generation Z-er finds their way to your restaurant (physically or digitally), give them an experience they’ll remember. As a younger demographic, they are looking for something cool and fun. Instead of being limited to very specific options, they want to be able to have choices and options to pick and choose. Diversity is a key component into how they make their decisions. Additionally, Generation Z has been the driving force behind moving the food industry towards a more healthy direction. When NPD asked the question as to how much clean eating affects the overall quality of one’s life, 55% of survey participants aged 18-24 said very much, as compared to 42% of 24-34 year-olds, 36% of 35-54 year-olds, and only 26% of those 55 or older.

Capture Their Loyalty

Generation Z is considered to be the most diverse and multicultural generation ever. This demographic expects change and, will no doubt, always be a moving target for companies when it comes to marketing. Instead of succumbing to what everyone else desires, Generation Z will go down their own road. They will be the market finding the next big thing instead of committing their loyalty to one particular brand or company. However, if the brand relates to them in a way that appeals to them and their lives, the Generation Z-er will be committed. A study by Lab42 found that less than half of Gen Z shoppers were influenced to purchase based on a loyalty program compared to nearly three-quarters of millennials. Ultimately, loyalty for Generation Z comes back to having a good experience with the brand and how their lives benefit from it.

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