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2024RestaurantShow - Gen Z - Tom Boland, Marianne Radley Erin Newkirk Tom Carr.jpg Ron Ruggless
At the “How Gen Z is changing restaurant marketing” education session, from left: Tom Boland, CMO of Bojangles; Marianne Radley, CMO of Smoothie King; Erin Newkirk, chief brand and marketing officer at Caribou Coffee; and Tim Carr, CMO of Chicken Salad Chick.

How Gen Z is changing restaurant marketing

CMOs from Bojangles, Caribou Coffee, Chicken Salad Chick, and Smoothie King share insights

Generation Z spends nearly 75% of its time online, so marketer are wise to recognize that, they told restaurant operators Saturday.

At the “Cracking the Gen Z Code” education session Saturday, chief marketing officers from Tom Boland at Bojangles, to Marianne Radley at Smoothie King, Erin Newkirk at Caribou Coffee and Tom Carr at Chicken Salad Chick shared their insights into Gen Z, those ages 12-27 and born between 1997 and 2012.

Caribou Coffee, for example, is creating a dating show thay will reside on TikTok, Newkirk said. It will culminate in dating pairs in June and July, Newkirk noted.

“It’s a product of innovation,” Newkirk said.

Bojangles, a Southern stalwart, has got into the Instagram crowd by expanding its longtime Bo-Berry biscuit platform to cookies, Boland said.

“It also takes advantage of the trends in snacking among this group,” he said.

Smoothie King, known for its bowls and smoothies, has shifted its audience younger over the past 14 months by emphasizing images, Radley said.

“The response among the 18-34 age group has really shifted,” Radley said.

Even Chicken Salad Chick, which offers a variety of chicken salads, has taken advantage of the innovations in online image platforms, working with Influencers in local markets, Carr said.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on X/Twitter: @RonRuggless

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