Gen Z

Gen Z diners are key for your restaurant, so connect with them

If your restaurant doesn’t already have a marketing strategy that targets Gen Z customers, it’s time to shift your focus.

Making up 28 per cent of the population, with 20 per cent of their income going towards food, Gen Z is an important part of your restaurant’s customer base. With a reputation for being technology-driven, eco-conscious, and community-minded, experts expect this generation’s preferences and buying habits to shape the future of food technology, research and development, and marketing.

Developing and refining your marketing strategy to attract this key younger demographic is increasingly vital for restaurateurs, and there are numerous ways that can be done.

Social media

We know kids are on social media, but TikTok is this generation’s platform of choice. TikTok has over one billion daily active users and 60 per cent of those users are Gen Z, who spend between 24 and 48 hours on TikTok per month. These users are engaged with their favourite influencers, are on top of the trends, and constantly visit their “for you” page.

Not familiar with this space? It’s one of the most forgiving platforms, with authenticity more important than perfection. Turning some of your attention from Facebook and Instagram to partner with creators, try out some of the trends, and build your social brand may be a way to get this younger crowd through your doors.

RELATED: The importance of TikTok for restaurants: the clock is ticking


In that search for authenticity, Gen Z pays close attention to a company’s values and practices, and your restaurant’s story is important. Entice them to visit by being your authentic self.

Featuring local products, talking about your family business, or expressing your passion for sustainability are just some of the ways your story can attract a generation of customers wanting to connect and build relationships.


Gen Z loves to be part of a community and a loyalty program is a great place to start. 60 per cent of this generation thinks all businesses should have a loyalty program, with a focus on earning rewards based on behaviour.

This doesn’t automatically translate to offering freebies or lowering your margins, what’s most important is that engagement. Get to know this customer: look at when they visit most, what they order, the way they interact with your restaurant. As your loyalty program grows and you’re tracking customer behaviour, you’ll gain even more insight on how to better market to Gen Z.  

In today’s competitive foodservice market, focusing your attention on Gen Z should be part of your marketing strategy. As David Portalatin, food industry adviser with NPD Group, summarized: “An understanding of which menu items to emphasize, the food attributes they seek, menu innovations that appeal to them, and their preferred advertising platforms will help you win the favour of this valuable generation”.