Sponsored by Anchor Food Professionals
So, you’ve finally gotten the hang of making millennials happy. That’s awesome, but like everything in life, generations are cyclical. It’s time to get to know your next challenge. Gen Z includes anyone born after 1995 – and they’re growing up very differently than their millennial counterparts. Use these tips to set yourself up for success by making a plan to engage them with new flavors, great looking dishes and exciting experiences.
This generation will lead food trends and be vocal about it, so we all need to be prepared with new offerings and innovations. Because of their global exposure at an early age, they’re all about the adventure. If they don’t find a restaurant that wows them, they may just opt for ordering in-home meal kits so they can control their experience and share with others. You’ll need to find ways to give them an experience they’ll keep coming back for.
While millennials remember a time without smartphones, Gen Z has always had them. These kids were basically born with a computer in their hand and know nothing of waiting for information. They have always had the world at their fingertips, giving them a much more global take on everything. Not only are they the most ethnically diverse generation – 48% are non-Caucasian (Business Insider) – they fully embrace uniqueness and other cultures, and they expect others to do the same.
Offering global flavors with high-quality ingredients will be critical
Gen Z’s global perspective and acceptance of ethnic diversity also means they’re more open to new flavors and food experiences. They are ready and willing to embrace foods and customs from all ethnicities and cultures. They’ll want to try new things, so you’ll have to adapt to more innovation and maintain new menu options.
Much like the generation before them, Gen Z will be (and is already) online and ready to post – so that part of your job won’t change. You’ll need to make sure everything tastes great and looks amazing because they’ll have no patience for something that doesn’t. They will drive your social media traffic – good or bad – so offering unique dishes will be key. One thing to keep in mind: they are more protective of their privacy than millennials, and favor Snapchat to any other social media because they can control who is looking.
It’s all about options and sharing the experience. FOH and BOH must be ready.
BOH must innovate and perform…
While Gen Z desires new foods from the global marketplace, they also want to share the experience – and that goes for food as well. They’ll see dining as a way to socialize and engage with their friends and family while sharing or splitting dishes. So how do you prepare for a made-to-order crowd? Making multiple small portions may please customers, but is completely inefficient for your back-of-house operations.
You’ll need to invest in versatile and stable ingredients that can be easily prepped to quickly create a multitude of dishes. Innovation takes smart planning. Want to make a Tom Yum Lime Cream Pasta? Don’t let conventional cream be an obstacle. Using a cream that maintains stability is key for making a variety of pasta dishes. Want to create a global sampler of dips and sauces to share? Make sure your cream can stand up to different ingredients and still look and taste great as it sits on the table. Pre-prepped ingredients that can be heated and served quickly will be your game-changer.
…and FOH must keep up with table turns
Yes, your back-of-house must deliver on innovative dishes that taste and look great. But your front-of-house must also adapt. Gen Z expects everything to work as efficiently and quickly as they do. They’re not going to wait patiently for 30-60 minutes at an over-booked restaurant on a Friday night – so you’ll need to change procedure to allow for faster table-turns by coordinating with BOH – if they use pre-prepped ingredients that can be heated and served quickly, you’ll have an easier time FOH.
This will be the largest generation of self-starters, entrepreneurs and go-getters we’ve seen in decades. They have high expectations for themselves and everyone around them. Will you be ready?