The members of Generation Z, a generation that grew up with iPhones and iPads already in their laps, the so-called “on demand” generation, are suddenly in their 20s. And this means that they’re going to start making lots of financial decisions, including whether or not to cook at home with the help of their favorite cooking vlog on Youtube, or to order something from their favorite restaurant online, or to actually step out of their home and taking an Uber to your restaurant. It feels like every business is vying for their attention, and the restaurant industry is no exception.

So if you want to attract this younger generation, one that’s somehow even more challenging to market to than Millennials were, serving avocado on the menu just isn’t going to cut it. If you really want to attract the generation that’s using apps for everything and in-home technology like Angee, here’s how:

1 Cultivate a culture

When it comes to attracting the generation that makes up 25 percent of the American population, you have to remember that it’s not only food you’re serving. Considering that food can be delivered to their homes more or less 24/7 now, serving high-quality food is the bare minimum for any restaurant. More than anything, it’s an experience you want to provide. For example, if you’re a Mexican food restaurant, consider having contests every night for the most “Qreative Quesadilla,” which gets the winner a free drink at the bar.

2 Have a strong brand

According to Vision Critical, Millennials and Gen Zers use their smartphones fairly comparably, with an average of 14.8 and 15.4 hours a week, respectively. So just like with millennials, you need to be just as present on social media as you do in real life. You’ll need to create a whole brand aesthetic for your restaurant, one that can be used on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And don’t forget to provide content on Youtube–if you’re offering cooking tutorials or tips on how to make a perfect cocktail, Gen Zers will flock to your restaurant.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out this guide on the branding trends of 2018 from Cubicle Ninjas–after all, you’ll want to be at the forefront of aesthetics to get attention from this generation. Take a look at the trailer for the social media movie People You May Know, too, for extra inspiration.

3 Be mobile friendly

Just because you’re trying to attract this new generation, it doesn’t mean that you have to come up with ideas for taking your business online. Not completely, anyway–but you do need to have wifi and an app that simplifies processes (such as pre-ordering while they’re waiting to get a seat). According to Food Newsfeed, “prominent trends that will be launched by Generation Z are hyperconnectivity and slingshotting, habits that are made possible by the constant presence of wireless connectivity and smart devices.”

Considering that Generation Z will soon make up 40 percent of total US consumers, you need to make these changes and make them fast.

4 Be ethical

One of the best things about Generation Z is the pressure they’re putting on all markets to improve their ethics–whether that’s making sustainable choices or paying employees at over the minimum wage. So when it comes to running a restaurant that caters to their needs, according to Restaurant Engine, you’ll want to “make diners aware of your natural, organic and sustainability efforts, and you’ll engage and appeal to them.” And the fact that your employees, even part-time ones, get healthcare coverage.

The fact is, 80 percent of Gen Zers, according to Precision Dialogue, are more likely to buy a product if it has a positive social or environmental impact. So if you’ve been considering buying those ethically-sourced coffee beans, do it, and make sure you post about it on your Instagram account, too.

5 Be smart about customer service

According to, Generation Z “understands that they are teens (young). But, they believe that they are armed with more power (and intelligence) [than] their older siblings and parents… Which means they expect you to treat them like they are 30 and not 20. Customer experience is everything to this generation.”

So if you aren’t already, hand over a tablet at the end of each meal with a survey asking what your clients thought of the service (which will impress them, but will also give you a chance to learn more about your clients and create a better marketing strategy). Answer customer questions immediately any time they ask you anything over social media and reply gracefully to negative reviews (for example, offering a free meal or refund). Finally, consider creating a chatbot so that you can reply to their queries 24/7–after all, it’s estimated that 80 percent of businesses will be equipped with customer service chatbots by the year 2020.

As you can see, attracting Generation Z is all about staying on top of marketing trends, being savvy about design, and truly knowing what your customers need. By following these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to success.

How do you plan on attracting Generation Z to your restaurant?

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