Recent Research Gives Insight Into Where Gen Z Prefers To Dine

Gen-Z, known as the Zoomer generation, is made up of young people ages 10 to 25 (via Beresford Research). This new generation has unique tastes and interests, especially when it comes to the food and beverages they consume. According to Progressive Grocer, social media apps like TikTok are increasingly influencing how this generation thinks about and consumes food. 53% of Gen Z reports they find inspiration for recipes and meals via TikTok, and they are particularly conscious about where their food comes from. Smucker's shifted its coffee brands to appeal to Gen Z's concern for what they put into their bodies. Coca-Cola followed suit, releasing a new flavor that tasted like a Gen Z dream

In a report that surveyed 1,500 U.S. and U.K. Gen Z's, 47% responded that they will prioritize "mental health focused eating," per Progressive Grocer. Gen Z wants to support businesses that align with their values and morals. It's no surprise then that their choice of where they'd prefer to dine follows this same pattern.

Gen Z likes fast-casual dining

According to NPD, Gen Z prefers to dine at fast-casual restaurants that provide what they deem to be a good value and a "focused menu." In the calendar year ending July 2022, the Gen Z generation made 4.3 billion trips to quick-service restaurants and only 736 million visits to full-service establishments. The Winning Gen Z Consumers study found that Gen Z chooses to visit restaurants that provide good value and promote similar values, like offering organic products or focusing on sustainability. Gen Z also loves more recognizable options like chicken sandwiches, spicy foods, and crave-able snacks, per NPD.

So what can restaurants do to appeal to the younger base? Restaurants need to adapt their marketing strategies to appeal to the younger crowd. David Portalatin, NPD's food industry advisor suggests, "Restaurant operators can ... focus on creative spins on classic foods, engaging relevant messaging, and generating value beyond price." Some restaurants like Chipotle have already adapted to their new customer base. Chipotle has been ramping up its mobile rewards program to give its customers the best value, acknowledging that Gen Z spends more time on their devices. Other establishments, like McDonald's use celebrities and social media influencers to resonate with Gen Z (per CNN).