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How Can Restaurants Appeal to Generation Z

Generation Y – children of the Babyboomers – are reaching the peak of their powers. By 2020, they will make up three quarters of the UK’s workforce, representing a huge demographic for UK restaurateurs.

Last year we wrote about how important it was for the leisure industry, from operators to landlords, to cater for this millennial generation, as their spending power eclipses that of their predecessors in Gen X.

Now, we want to look ahead to the future, speculating on how best to steal a march on the rest of the industry and appeal to the next generation – Generation Z. It is these children of the ‘90s who, by 2020, will comprise 40% of all consumers.

Generation Z is expected to make up 40% of all consumers by 2020.

Internet natives

Gen Z are the first cohort to have grown up with smart phones in their pockets and computers at home and at school. This makes them easy to engage with via social channels like Snapchat and Instagram.

Brands like Costa have led the way on how to use these media, recently refurbishing key stores in a tropical theme that screams out ‘take a selfie’. They cleverly did a deal with key social media influencers to kick off the campaign, which has been roundly praised in the marketing industry.

We’re talking about a demographic of whom 78% are distressed by being kept away from their technology. Learning how to use mobile social channels to access a generation who see no faux pas in using your phone at the dinner table is a must for restaurants hoping to capture Gen Z’s growing spending power.


Global values

Generation Z cares less about local than they do about sustainable – they don’t remember a pre-globalisation world and don’t expect anything they buy to be made in the UK. Rather, they want things that are grown on the other side of the world to be sustainable and ethical. 76% are worried about humanity’s impact on the planet.

This generational value should spur on the trend toward ethical food operators, from wholesome restaurants like The Grain Store to ‘chains with a conscience’ like Pret a Manger. Is it any coincidence that McDonald’s is shrinking just as Gen Z is coming of age?

The magic words for Gen Z are ‘natural’, ‘organic’ and ‘sustainable’. Seeing how you can incorporate these values into your brand now will stand you in good stead as time goes on.


Social researchers

Getting out their phone to use Yelp, Zomato or Google Reviews to find good nearby restaurants is second nature to Gen Z.

52% of industry operators already believe negative reviews affect sales, so imagine how this figure will grow when Gen Z come into their prime. It will be more important than ever for restaurants to have swift, efficient management of their online presence, either via in-house staff or through digital agencies. Beware all those who ignore their online presence!

As phones become ever more firmly entrenched in how people find out about – and decide – which restaurants to frequent, operators will be forced to tailor their whole customer experience to be mobile friendly; from easy-to-access Wi-Fi to making sure dishes and interiors alike are photogenic and well presented.


Staying up to date with industry trends is key to being great leisure property agents. To see how our expertise can help your restaurant operation, call us today on 020 7935 2222 or email

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