Capture Millennial and Gen Z Patronage in 5 Ways

November 2022

Capture Millennial and Gen Z Patronage in 5 Ways

It’s not your imagination––Gen Z and millennials are driving foodservice usage more than any other demographic. The latest research shows that 76% of millennials and 68% of Gen Z diners visit a restaurant once a week. Considering this visitation frequency, here are five ways restaurants can meet the current trends most popular with younger adults.

  1. Become a partner in meal prep

Some dishes are just too difficult to recreate at home without special ingredients or the expertise of a restaurant chef. More than 70% of millennials and Gen Z say they rely on a mix of their own and restaurants’ cooking for meals. These so-called mixed meals have become so popular that over half of the adults surveyed say that compared to pre-pandemic habits, they are now more likely to incorporate restaurant-prepared items into meals made at home. One way to meet this trend while playing into another is to offer increasingly popular make-at-home meal kits, with pre-measured ingredients and detailed cooking instructions. Demand for these kits has grown to the extent that 8 out of 10 young adults say they would purchase one if offered by their favorite restaurants.

  1. Offer new sales models

Customers want to feel special and like they’re getting a deal, and millennial and Gen Z diners are no exception. One way to increase the perception of greater value is to offer new sales methods, including restaurant subscriptions and pre-paid house accounts. With these models, customers receive a discount for paying in advance. As many as 80% of millennials and Gen Z say they would likely purchase a subscription for a certain number of meals in a month from their favorite restaurant. Additionally, 3 out of 4 would open a “house account” if given the opportunity. For example, a customer who pays $50, would get $60 to spend at the restaurant. Offering an exclusive discount like this may drive first-time visitation as well as retain the loyalty of recent or regular guests with minimal loss.

  1. Upgrade your sales technology

Voice assist technology such as Amazon’s Alexa and iPhone’s Siri are gaining popularity as a food-ordering method for young adults, with 69% of Gen Z saying they would be likely to use them to order from restaurants. Technology is even revolutionizing table service, a response in part to wait staff shortages. Tableside technology is now common, and 8 out of 10 millennial and Gen Z respondents say they would be likely to place their order from a tablet if offered.

  1. Turn up the heat

Younger people tend to order spicier dishes. Keep things fresh with exotic spices like Thai pepper, habanero, Red Savina and ghost pepper, or try unique applications with spices on hand. This Kona Turkey Bowl features lean turkey breast with pineapple, seaweed, and spicy-tangy ginger and is perfect on a lunch or dinner menu. To kick up your lunch offerings, try this Zesty Turkey Ciabatta Sandwich with Mango Salsa with the perfect balance of spicy, sweet and savory.

  1. Optimize off-premise

Because of demanding schedules, varying appetites or lack of cooking expertise, 72% of millennials and 66% of Gen Z now say that off-premise dining is “essential” to their lifestyle. By now, restaurant owners are quite familiar with the popularity of third-party ordering platforms. 85% of Gen Z ordered delivery from a third-party service in the past six months, compared to only 38% of baby boomers. Just as crucial as offering the service is ensuring the quality of the traveling food; 94% of millennials say they would be more likely to order a greater variety of to-go foods if packaging methods were improved to make sure their food arrived at the right temperature and quality. In fact, 7 out of 10 millennials say they would be willing to pay extra for the cost of upgraded packaging.

While many facets of normal adult life have changed since pandemic lockdown days, data indicates that young people are dining out more than ever. Meeting their demand in one or more of these areas will help attract and retain the younger generations of adult diners. Which of these trends would you consider adopting at your operation? Share your ideas on our Facebook or LinkedIn pages. Or visit our Resource Center for more tips and trends.



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