How to market your restaurant to Gen Z effectively?

What age is considered Gen Z? Gen Z are those born between 1995 and 2015, who are currently from 5 yrs to 25 years old as of 2022. They are expected to make up 40 percent of consumers within the next decade.

What does Gen Z mean for brands? Quite simply: This generation lives on social media. They spend an average of 2-5 hours on social media every day. If you consider 8  hours sleep and another 8 hours of work or school time, that leaves them between 25% to 63% of their waking free time on social media platform. If you want your brand to succeed with Gen Z, you have to understand Gen Z from their perspective and have a strategy to engage with them to be able to earn their business.

How to market your restaurant to Gen Z?

Here are 10 vital things you need to know to market your restaurant to Gen Z:

1. Social media is the new word-of-mouth marketing referral platform

Word of mouth still works but the medium has changed. it is no longer restricted to people telling their experiences to their friends verbally. It has gone social for the Gen Zers. Encouraging word of mouth marketing on social is also a great way to attract customers as Gen Z is pretty vocal about their restaurant experience and tend to share them with friends on social media platforms.

2. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Tic Tock are the top social media platforms

Instagram is the most popular social media among Gen Z. It’s simple user-friendly interface and makes it more desirable among Gen Z to interact with their friends. It is important for a restaurateur to share the best restaurant content on Instagram consistently. 

Snapchat: It is relatively a new player in the social media arena, but has 73% active Gen Z users! Marketing your restaurant on Snapchat is a great way to attract Gen Z.

Facebook: Although Gen Zer’s are less active on Facebook as compared to Instagram and Snapchat, Facebook is still the highest used social media platform. Running paid ads on Facebook is a great way to attract the Gen Z. 

TikTok offers a user experience similar to Instagram that’s visual and interactive. It appeals to Gen Zers’ short attention spans as well as to their overwhelming preference for video on social media platforms.

3. Gen Z have a real short attention span

As a consumer group, Gen Z attention span is extremely low compared to others. In general, an average consumer attention span is around 12 seconds. Compared to Millennials, Gen Z’s attention span is an average of 8 seconds. This implies that people do not have enough patience to go through all the content that is put in front of them. Moreover, such a low attention span has a direct impact on the type of content that Gen Z is interested in and the way such users consume it. For example, if a piece of information is too long or it cannot be easily understood, there is a high chance it will be overlooked.   

The explanation of such a short attention span stands in the way this group consumes content. The technological advancements had a tremendous impact on the lives of Gen Zers. They are the most technological fluent generation thus far because they have been exposed to Internet access and mobile technology from the very beginning. They tend to skip ads and they usually tend to avoid heavily sponsored content. They know exactly what they are looking for and they will not waste time in decoding a piece of information if it does not peek their interest. Gen Zers are known to bounce between 5 screens at a time making marketing strategies extremely important to capture their attention. 

4. Gen Z use social media selectively

Social media is a vital part in the lives of Gen Zers and brands are adapting to the specific ways this consumer group treats media. They select different media channels depending on their needs.

Snapchat is one of the main communication tools that allows Gen Zers to keep in contact with their community. Almost 61% of Gen Z is using this “in the moment” tool. The goal is to share stories through pictures and have fun with filters to engage with your audience. 

Twitter is preferred by Gen Zers when they are looking for quick content or when they want to engage in conversation threads. Even though only 45% of Gen Zers still uses Twitter, brands can focus more on volume rather than curating images.  Gen Z uses this platform to show support and raise awareness on various topics including relevant events. 

Similar to conversation threads and content, Reddit is being used for curated news and various topics.

Instagram allows users to upload, edit and share photographic moments. It is a very popular platform amongst Gen Zers, approximately 63% of this customer group being active on this platform while looking for inspiration.  One marketing tip for this social media channel is to avoid flooding the user feed and focus on quality rather than quantity. 

Facebook is preferred for video content rather than engagement. This is the most used platform by Gen Z. Brands can capture and engage with Gen Z through daily video content or live streams.  Second best content option after video is photographs. Marketers use content to inform their target audience, since Gen Z is more likely to scroll for information than creating their own posts.  

Podcasts are also popular among Gen Zers. Compared to Millennials which is considered the largest ‘audio generation’, Gen Z  is continuously  adding more fuel to the podcast revolution. Recent studies have shown that Gen Zers are more likely to listen to at least 2- 3 podcasts a day via Spotify or Apple Podcasts. 

A staggering 44% of Gen Zers use social media hourly. According to Civic Science, approximately 72% of Gen Zers visit YouTube on a daily basis.  Also, it is worth noting that this consumer group is heavily influenced by social media comments rather than TV commercials. Brands should customize and tailor their content for each social media channel depending on Gen Zers needs and expectations.  Marketers need to consider the type of platforms that this customer segment approaches when they are looking for entertainment or pure information. Since Gen Z started experiencing social media at such an early stage, brands should understand and know how to approach this customer segment. Social media can be a conversation rather than just some random broadcast. Brands experiment different types of content and various frequency of sharing it to reach their desired KPIs. 

5. Gen Z wants to see real people rather than celebrities in messaging

Gen Zers want to see real, relatable people in marketing campaigns. The people in your ads need to share the same struggles or have the same beliefs as your Generation Z audience. Influencer marketing has changed over the past few years. The focus now is on content that tells a story. Gen Z is more interested in the message behind any piece of information and is interested in conscious consumption. This generation is supporting brands and influencers that make conscious consumption trends related to animal welfare, equality, diversity and human rights. In order to engage with this generation, your brand story and content should take in consideration social justice and sustainability. Gen Zers want to have a positive impact on the world. Make sure your brand facilitates or promotes positive changes. 

In other words, make sure that your brand does not deliver just marketing language. Be authentic and promote values through your content. Gen Zers are interested in celebrities and famous social media influencers but they interested in making conscious choices that are meaningful to their life choices. As a brand, you should focus on giving a full story in eight seconds or less.

6. Gen Z value relevant, useful and valuable content

According to 2018 research report by Cigna,  compared to other generations, Gen Zers suffer from loneliness and social isolation. They use social networks to fulfill human interaction needs and search for unique and differentiated experiences. If you want to be successful, use phygital marketing as a source of inspiration. Your content should bridge online and digital experiences. The need of integrating marketing efforts across physical and virtual spaces is fueled by the desire of Gen Zers to live in the “now”.

Such an experience is also possible only through relevant, useful and valuable content that this generation is interested in. For example, in a generation that is heavily influenced by environmental protection, equal rights and philanthropy you can attract their attention through posts and articles that touch on this topic. Moreover, your brand story should be consistent and relate to their core beliefs. No matter if you are a small or large business, your content should empower them and promote collaborations. Instead of requesting something from them, offer solutions, inspire them and help them achieve their goals and dreams through a seamless and personalized experience. Make sure your content is tailored on their personal needs and interests. 

7. Gen Z value experiences

According to an IBM report, 56% of Gen Zers values shopping experiences that are not boring. This applies no matter the industry or company that is targeting this customer audience. Your brand should focus on building relationships and create omni-channel experiences with Gen Zers.

So far, we touched on creating content that is valuable, insightful and meaningful for this young generation. All your marketing strategy and customer experience should focus on creating a captivating experience for them no matter what channel they are using to view your content. Remember that for this generation, technology is second nature. Besides offering them the best technological experience (your website should be optimized, your app should not be lagging), Gen Zers care about a personalized experience when interacting with your brand. Content- driven experiences and phygital marketing strategies can help brands engage with Gen Zers. 

8. Gen Z are discount driven

Gen Zers are more inclined to purchase when incentives and rewards programs are being offered. Exclusive offers work best for Gen Z marketing because it nourishes a relationship between your brand and this customer segment. Besides integrating a product or a service in their life, discounts and exclusive offers creates a moment of here and now that gives a feeling of individuality and personalization. 65% of Gen Zers are interested in bargains and they are more likely to purchase when offered a discount. Brands should keep in mind that this generation is tech savvy and they can easily find the best price on the market. If we analyze economic and wellbeing factors that affect Gen Zers their funds might be limited and the easiest way to attract them is to make them an offer that they cannot resist.

As a restaurant owner, you can great a gated offer that focuses solely on Gen Zers. Such offers give the feeling of control and they would catch their attention. Brands should use such incentives to create an authentic and personalized experience that will make them a returning customer. Offering and maintain a discount builds loyalty and convers them into full customers down the road.

9. Gen Z likes loyalty programs that reward repeat visits

Brands can attract young generations through omnichannel loyalty programs. Most of the Gen Zers want to be rewarded points just for walking into your restaurant. Because they are known to redeem and use rewards, one way to keep them engaged and interested in your brand is to create a special loyalty program designed to get the best experience based on their needs. As a marketing technique, loyalty programs can give brands a competitive advantage.

Gen Zers are willing to pay for a premium price in exchange for valuable perks such as free shipping or exclusivity. The goal is to turn these customers into a returning customer and a loyalty program that rewards repeating visits can be the perfect strategy to attract more Gen Zers in your restaurant.

10. Gen Z like to sample new innovative menu

One perfect example of an individualized and unique experience is the ability to sample your new menu. Since Gen Zers are social media wizards, if they can sample an innovative menu they can explore and share something that they might like. A customized dining experience that targets them might satisfy their curiosity and meet their requests. For example, you can permit Gen Zers to customize and sample new ideas on your menu. Since technology is an important aspect of everyday life, make sure that your menu is easily accessible and appealing.  This can be done either as a discount or as part of your loyalty program.  Gen Z want to have diverse options and taste innovation. Sampling dishes from your new menu can be a perfect way to customize their experience and turn them into reoccuring customers. 

Brands that want to succeed today and future-proof their restaurant success cannot afford to ignore this demographics. It makes sense for restaurants to invest in resources to win over the Gen Z with authenticity and transparency for their brand.

Use these restaurant marketing strategies to the fullest and attract the younger crowd and see how your sales skyrocket!