Generation Z is changing the consumer market. The oldest of these customers are about 24, born in 1995. Although most of them are still in school, these young minds will soon make up 32% of the population. As they continue to grow up, enter the workforce, and amass spending power, their decisions will have a great and lasting impact on every aspect of a business.

Restaurants are no exception. Unlike real estate agencies or even furniture stores, restaurants appeal to people of all ages. Whether they’re young professionals out for a business lunch, or high school students looking for a late night snack at the diner, you’re sure to encounter more and more Generation Z customers as time goes on. To capture their loyalty, restaurant operators need to know how these guests differ from their older counterparts. Here are 4 of the top ways that Gen Z is changing the restaurant business for good:

 

1. Clean Eating

41% of Gen Z would happily pay more for healthier foods, compared to only 32% of Millennials. The question remains – what constitutes “healthy” food? Often, this means plant-based meals, with little to no meat and dairy products. In other cases, it means keto or paleo diets, where carbs are avoided at all costs. As sugar falls from favor, healthy fats are becoming more popular, with guests seeking out buttery coffee or coconut flavors.

2. Connect The Dots

The youngest generation spends more time connected to the internet than anyone else. For six to eight hours a day, they’re available via email or various social media platforms. For those who work, this probably happens via computer. Students and younger guests are using their phones even while at school. The internet is arguably the most valuable marketing tool that businesses have ever seen. Make sure you take advantage of this connectivity to reach out to Gen Z diners. They’re especially willing to trust friends’ recommendations, so encourage your guests to leave positive reviews on sites like Google and Yelp.

3. Generation Z Taking On Takeout

Let’s face it: a Netflix night in usually means takeout. This trend is on the rise for all your guests, but especially for Gen Z. These young customers would rather be comfortable at home or a friend’s place, instead of going out to sit in a restaurant. They’re interested in both takeout and delivery – but either way, off-premise service is on the rise. Your restaurant can appeal to these diners by adding an “Order Now” button to your website, using third-party delivery websites, and offering deals for first-time orders. Get their attention on social media, and keep their loyalty by investing in compostable take-out containers.

4. Keep the Change

We’re still learning about Generation Z’s spending priorities – and as young adults, so are they. Right now, these guests are more frugal than Millennials, likely because they’re either still at home, or working entry-level jobs. However, they’re perfectly willing to pay fees for takeout and delivery. By keeping menu prices low, restaurants can appeal to these thrifty spenders – but don’t be afraid to charge extra for additional services.

 

Bear in mind, these are just the current trends – as this generation grows up, their preferences may change. Even if your marketing tactics need to be updated in the future, it’s worth investing in their loyalty now. As time goes on, these young customers will redefine what it means for a business to succeed. Make sure you’re connecting with them early and often, and you’ll stay successful for decades to come.