In 2022, an NPD Group survey revealed that Gen Zers, ages 18 to 24, ate at or ordered from a restaurant, on average, 218 times from February 2021 to February 2022. When Millennials were that age, they went to or ordered from restaurants about 244 times a year. The next generation, Gen X, born between 1965 and 1980, patronized restaurants 284 times.
It’s clear, from these statistics, that restaurants are going to have their hands and marketing strategies full as they try to turn the younger generations into lifelong customers.
So, how do you gain the interest of the younger crowd and then build their brand loyalty?
Teaming Up With Restaurant Influencers
According to a survey of about 2,300 consumers by PYMNTS Intelligence, unlike their older counterparts who rely on online reviews, Gen Zers lean toward influencers and content creators. Social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are also popular among the younger generation and are used as places to gather information on restaurants.
To develop positive restaurant customer engagement that encourages brand loyalty, restaurants must leverage social media platforms and increase their online presence. Partnering with influencers or micro-influencers can help you reach many more Gen Zers much faster. Influencers are those who have the power to impact the purchasing decisions of those who follow them.
Smaller independent restaurants can benefit from partnering with local micro-influencers. While they may not have the hundreds of thousands of followers, they do have the attention of those who matter the most: your local community. Consider storytelling videos and live streams featuring their favorite menu items.
One of the most important considerations is finding an influencer that aligns with your brand’s values and target market. To find influencers, search Instagram hashtags, YouTube, and Google. You can also check your competitors’ online platforms. Once you find them, determine your budget and the length of your partnership.
Marketing to the Elusive Gen Z
Capturing the elusive Gen Z crowd requires building a brand that aligns with their values. For many in this age group, that translates to sustainability, authenticity, and inclusivity. While sustainability and authenticity are apparent in the food you serve, how you source it, and how you present it as well as your restaurant’s environment, inclusivity is a little harder to demonstrate.
It may be apparent in your employees and how you treat them. However, you can also demonstrate it by hosting events celebrating diversity, welcoming diverse groups, and aligning with social causes in this arena. This is also where social media comes in, a perfect platform to share your sustainability practices, whether locally sourced or sustainably caught. Emphasize your support of LGBTQ+ rights and the other social causes that matter to you, your brand, and your employees.
To catch the interest of Gen Z on social media, consider showcasing behind-the-scenes content demonstrating your authenticity, sharing helpful tips from chefs, and highlighting new menu items, particularly those that catch the eye of this health-conscious population.
Restaurant Menus That Attract This Population
A Gen Z survey by Morning Consult revealed that 57% tried new dishes, 62% went for new beverages, and 51% tried unfamiliar restaurants. The bottom line? They are not afraid of exploring the unknown, at least as far as their food is concerned. Take them on a culinary journey to the vast reaches of the world, keeping in mind they’re one of the most health-conscious generations who also appreciate customization. Let them choose from new and extraordinary sauces and flavors.
This group is also known for their socializing, often going to restaurants with groups of friends and family. For this reason, shareable dishes and communal-style dining appeal to this crowd. And make sure to create camera-ready dishes to leverage the power of Instagram and other social media platforms.
Knowing Your Competitors
Are you wondering how your competitors are appealing to this younger target market? Keeping a watchful eye on their menus and social media platforms can reveal their strategy. F&B Insights offers an easy way to remain mindful of what the restaurants in your area and the nation are serving as well as their price point. It gives you access to the largest menu database and sends alerts when changes in your area occur. To learn more about this incredible platform, contact F&B Insights today.