They don’t have much personal spending power yet, so why should operators focus on GenZ (ages 10-22), also known as iGen? Well, it’s because that’s what marketers do. They learn to adjust or self-destruct. They keep their eyes on the future and start aiming that direction now. That means figuring out what this emerging spending generation is like. I’ve recently done two articles on them, so here are my 7 secrets:
- First, GenZ’s are digitally dependent. Hello online ordering/paying and photogenic food/décor. Focus on social media, even if it means devoting a staff position to it.
- They are the most interested in locally sourced ingredients and local community support Consider sponsoring a local school or organization. Participate in timely fund-raisers. You get so many requests already. Decide to say yes to one request a month.
- GenZ’s like healthy menu options and an easy-to-read menu. So what’s up with these neon menu boards that cycle through the menu? Who has the time or desire to follow through the cycle (at the rate of molasses at a fast-food restaurant?)
- They think of quality in terms of freshness—defined as local, sustainable and prepared in front of them. So for those not preparing food in front of the guest in fast-casual style, for the next remodel, consider open prep kitchens. These were popular years ago, and now they have a new reason to come back.
- It matters to GenZ’s that the employees are treated fairly. Besides the whole salary/health care issue, think of ways to elevate the employees in guests’ eyes. Post their art work. Call them artisans if they are hand-crafting anything and post their photos with bullet points of interesting things about them. Have an employee of the week. Figure out contests to appeal to their competitive side. Above all, don’t forget that many of your employees are GenZ’s.
- They are interested in food functionality. Research, add and point out superfoods, proteins, pro-biotics, etc., on the menu.
- I saved one of the most important for last. This group is the most multi-cultured. If they aren’t from an ethnic family themselves, they go to school with many. They know ethnic food, not just in theory, but from experience. If you’ve added Sriracha to something, that’s a start, but entire dishes need to be culturally genuine. This will require exploration, R&D, consultations, etc. If you need to prioritize where to spend the money to change your menu, this might be the place.
If you’d like to read more about GenZ and what operators are doing to appeal to them, check out my May 2017 article from The National Culinary Review called “GenZ Rising” to the right.
Tell me what you think.