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How Generation Z is Reshaping the Restaurant Industry

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December 30, 2022

Gen Z accounts for nearly 20.7 percent of the U.S. population 2022 and has grown to 68.6 million in the U.S. With some statistics showing they wield $143 billion in purchasing power, connecting with Gen Z can mean great long-term benefits for your restaurant.

5 Food Industry Trends Influenced by Gen Z

This generation was born into the digital age and have highly value-driven spending habits. Those factors are driving some exciting trends in the restaurant industry—from eco-conscious eating to technology-driven ordering and more. If you want to capture this growing group of restaurant consumers, take a look at the 5 trends Gen Z are shaping now.

1. Tech-Based Ordering Habits

Generation Z has grown up with technology and is more comfortable interacting in the digital realm than other generations. These factors impact how Gen Z prefers to handle restaurant transactions. 80 percent of Gen Z are willing to use tablets to place orders at their favorite restaurant. 4 out of 10 want more tech options from restaurants.

Voice ordering is a new technology that Gen Z is embracing. 69 percent are open to placing online orders via a virtual assistant like Alexa or Siri, compared to only 26 percent of Boomers.

Investing in tech-based platforms can help you increase your Gen Z base. Utilizing tablets, self-service options, mobile apps, and virtual assistants means you can rely on fewer floor staff, which is a great solution to a reduced workforce.

Restaurant Technology Tip: Build a dynamic website to capture Generation Z’s attention

2. Eco-Conscious Eating

Value-based buying and sustainability practices are central concerns for Gen Z. 68 percent believe in making the world a better place for younger generations and consider themselves stewards of the earth. This attention to the environment also plays out in their spending choices. Over half of the Gen Z population prefers to purchase from eco-conscious brands.

Restaurants with equal concern for the environment can speak to Gen Z consumers. Here are a few simple ways your establishment can target this growing demographic:

Increase your sustainability efforts and avoid greenwashing to connect with Gen Z

3. Home Cooking with Meal Kits

Cooking meals at home is important to Gen Z, and they include meal kits as part of their meal prep routine. While roughly half of the adults in the U.S. rely on meal kits for home meals, over 70 percent of Gen Z consumers use restaurant-prepared items.

Restaurants can cash in on meal kits by offering complete meals with instructions and pre-measured ingredients. 80 percent of Gen Z are inclined to buy restaurant-curated meal kits, which allow them to do part of the cooking but without too much complication.

4. Takeout and Delivery

It’s no secret that takeout and delivery numbers have soared since 2020. Consumers love an expertly prepared meal they can enjoy from the comfort of their couches. While this trend has been popular for a few years, Gen Z is driving it. 80 percent of this generation are more prone to order takeout, with 70 percent are inclined to order delivery. Compared to 62 percent (takeout) and 58 percent (delivery) among other adults, it’s evident that Gen Z rank among the highest demographic for to-go meals.

Takeout Tip: Use proper takeout containers to maintain food integrity

To-go offerings don’t stop at food for Gen Z. Cocktails-to-go, made possible during the pandemic in many states, is a top draw. 77 percent of drinking-age Gen Z customers added a cocktail to their food orders, compared to 10 percent of Boomers and 30 percent of Gen X. Plus, 70 percent of Gen Z consumers said the ability to purchase a cocktail to-go with their food order influenced their restaurant decisions. With alcoholic beverages having an excellent profit margin (link), securing booze sales means you can increase profits and give customers what they crave.

Add a cocktail kit add-on to your takeout menu that follows current beverage trends

5. Social Media Marketing

Generation Z spends a lot of time engaging with social media. Nearly 98 percent of Gen Z worldwide own a smartphone and interact with social media regularly. 64 percent interact with platforms daily. Roughly 62 percent of Gen Z watch YouTube regularly, and 64 percent visit Instagram daily.

When you consider that 97 percent of Gen Z discover new products through social media, social media restaurant marketing is an important trend that can help establishments attract younger clients.

Restaurant Supplies and Business Tools from US Foods CHEF’STORE

At CHEF’STORE, offer a wealth of informative business resources to help you build your brand. Drive online orders with our digital food ordering system services, help manage in-person visits with easy-to-use reservation tools, and more. To see all CHEF’STORE has to offer, visit one of our many locations and talk with our knowledgable staff.

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CHEF'STORE Industry Report: Restaurant Trends That Will Define 2023

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