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Gen Z set to change things up for foodservice industry

Gen Z set to bring new challenges to foodservice industry.

Today’s teenagers; tomorrow’s food purchasers. How will Gen Z differ from Millennials?

“These folks are not just Millennial 2.0,” said Abhijeet Jadhav, senior manager of marketing strategy for Georgia-Pacific Professional and a moderator of a panel at the National Restaurant Assn. show titled “Introducing generation: The world’s newest influential decision maker.”

Those in Gen Z are born between 1995 and the mid- to late-2000s. Their values, panel members said, are very different from those of Millennials. They spend a lot of time online and tend to have shorter attention spans. Because they consume a lot of information, they tend to make decisions quickly.

For the foodservice industry, this is a generation that could offer some challenges as Gen Z tends to want good value and quality from restaurants. They tend to gravitate toward fast-casual. They also expect inviting service and a welcoming ambience that makes them feel valued. Additionally, they demand cleanliness and the highest standard of food safety.

Some 80 million members strong, Gen Z is on the cusp of being the restaurant industry’s major consumer market, Jadhav noted.

It was pointed out by the panel that Gen Z wants to know why things are being done the way they are. They also want to know the story, and they want it told through technology. They want to be able to place their order through their phone and have it ready when they arrive for pickup.

Pickup and delivery are big deals with Gen Z as they tend to be more homebodies. They also may be slower to part with their money, which is something the foodservice industry must stay on top of and monitor closely.

Gen Z is active on social media and uses services to rate, access and compare various establishments. For Gen Z, it is all about the experience, and they will wait for hours to go to a place that has the technology built behind it versus a brand they are comfortable with. New tastes are another attraction for Gen Z.

The advice foodservice industry members were left with was to challenge Gen Z, give them new things and, most of all, give them something to talk about.

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