How Restaurants Can Attract More Millennial and Gen Z Customers

Every restaurant understands that attracting new customers is crucial for sustained success. But even though the millennial generation begins with those born in 1979, many restaurant owners struggle to connect with this audience—not to mention Generation Z, the generation that comes after it.

Today, we’re going to examine common attributes and behavioral trends for both of these newer generations and touch on a five-part framework to help ensure that restaurants can attract and retain more millennial and Gen Z customers.

Traits of Restaurants’ Millennial Customers

For millennials, life is very much about collaboration. After all, they are largely responsible for the pervasive crowd-sourcing trend, which features reviews of restaurants and hotels, traffic updates, and ride sharing. Restaurants that want to tap into the millennial customer set need to think about collaboration.

Since the advent of social media, millennials have been sharing everything from selfies and pictures of their meals to videos of their pets. Shareability is an important element for restaurants’ millennial customers.

Millennials are conscious of their own environmental footprints, as well as those of businesses. Millennial customers expect restaurants to give careful consideration to the environment—and the smart ones are doing so.

While everyone has shorter attention spans these days, millennials were the first to grow up with the Internet, email, and various other digital distractions. Restaurants can capture attention by creating content that is useful, entertaining, and of course, shareable.

Of the more recent generations, millennials are known to be the most adventurous, often opting to seek out new experiences rather than making expensive purchases. A restaurant that offers a compelling experience can help millennials satisfy their urge for unique adventures while also fulfilling their need for nourishment.

For a more in-depth look at millennials and how restaurants can attract them, click here to watch our free, on-demand webinar, “Driving Millennial and Gen Z Visits.”

Traits of Restaurants’ Gen Z Customers

Although younger than millennials, the members of Gen Z—born between 1996 and 2010—sometimes display more maturity. Gen Z seems to be made up of old souls who are a bit more conscientious than the previous generation.

Whereas millennials are focused on collaboration, Gen Z is focused on competition. They understand the importance of hard work and are willing to put in the effort to obtain the prize—whether that be in their careers or their personal lives. Restaurants that incorporate healthy competition into their programs will pique the interest of Gen Z customers.

Millennials appear happy to post on social media and share information in general, but Gen Z won’t share data with brands unless given assurances that it will be secure. Restaurants can encourage Gen Z customers to share their information by allaying concerns and making the benefits clear.

While likewise conscious of the environment, Gen Z seems to be more concerned about social issues and equality. Not every restaurant or brand needs to take a social stance, but those that do—and those that take action based on their stance—can likely expect increased loyalty and visits from Gen Z.

Similar to millennials (and probably most of us), the members of Gen Z don’t have much of an attention span. However, they’re even savvier when it comes to the content that brands deliver. They can easily see through contrived concepts and aren’t interested in things that lack uniqueness or a strong purpose.

In contrast to risk-taking millennials, Gen Z is a group of people who are generally both more cautious and more strategically opportunistic. Instead of jumping into things with both feet, they think more analytically to determine how things can benefit them and people as a whole.

For a more in-depth look at Gen Z and its impact on restaurants, click here to watch our free, on-demand webinar, “Driving Millennial and Gen Z Visits.”

Five Keys to Attract More Millennial and Gen Z Restaurant Customers

Simply knowing these details about the two generations isn’t enough. To get more millennial and Gen Z restaurant customers, a brand must implement a plan to capitalize on these traits and give both generations what they want.

Jeff Fromm, the president of the ad agency FutureCast, is an expert on millennials and Gen Z. He joined us for a free webinar and presented his analysis of the two generations. He also discussed a five-part framework that restaurants and c-stores can use to establish programs that will connect with both millennials and Gen Z.

Click here to watch our free, streaming workshop called “Driving Millennial and Gen Z Visits.” You’ll learn the five easy-to-follow steps and find out how every restaurant can vastly increase its number of millennial and Gen Z clients.

Terri Burton

The Author
Terri leads the content marketing team at Paytronix. A restaurant software veteran, Terri joined the company in March 2015 and was responsible for major account sales in the North East before moving over to marketing in the Spring of 2018.

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