Are Gen Z the next big opportunity in hospitality?

Lucy Woodward
April 11, 2023

When you hear the term ‘Gen Z’ what likely springs to mind is teens and TikTok. You might assume they are young and without very much buying power compared to their older generations. And whilst they may be young, the latter is definitely false. Born between 1997 and 2012, a Generation ‘Z’ can be as young as 10 and as old as 25.

So why are they important? Well, research has shown that Generation Z make up a whopping 40% of consumers and have an estimated global spending power of $360 billion. What’s more, they’re still at an age where they influence their parents’ purchasing habits, which makes their actual spend much, much higher.

What does this actually mean for hospitality though? Could now be the time to switch up your target market? Well in part, yes! They have the potential to seriously boost your sales in a time when every sale counts.


Students are the kings and queens of budgeting


Well… kind of. It’s that time in your life when you leave home (often for the first time) and you start to become financially independent. Naturally, mistakes are made but students are undoubtedly good at living life off a small budget. Despite this, there’s always room for a takeaway or two. And while not all Gen Zs are students, a large proportion of the demographic are at an age where they may be at college or university. The convenience of having food delivered to your accommodation is too hard to resist, particularly when you’re hungover and sleep deprived. The student is simply put, a QSR’s dream.

Slightly off topic, but if anything this bodes well for online ordering in a time where people’s pockets are tighter. Like students, other customers that may view eating out as a luxury they can’t afford right now, don’t tend to feel the same about takeaways. Yet another reason to diversify with D2C. In fact, takeaways and fast-food spending has grown 11.7% as half of consumers start swapping nights out for nights in to save money this autumn and winter.


Are Gen Z the ‘ethical ones?’


Anyway, back to Gen Z. They have really started to build a reputation as the ‘ethical generation’. From sustainability to human rights, they care a lot more about who they are buying from and where their products come from. They tend to prefer to shop from small businesses that support the local community, business owners and the economy. Good news for D2C as ordering direct means consumers can support the business better rather than ordering through a marketplace and is therefore, often seen as more ‘ethical’.

Additionally, Gen Z  may be more likely to order from you if your business aligns with their values. For example, research has shown that Gen Z not only prefer to shop sustainably, but are prepared to pay more for it. Whatever it might be that makes your business stand out… Do you focus on local ingredients, have a vegan only menu or give back to your community? It could be anything, but it could also be the hook that makes members of this generation loyal to you.


A generation surrounded by tech


If there’s one thing that Gen Z are known for, it’s social media. They have grown up surrounded by the internet and smartphones, it’s their norm! It’s how they keep up to date with current affairs, chat to friends and family, and it’s also how they shop! 60% use instagram as a way to discover new brands and products. With social commerce on the rise, if you want to get in front of Gen Z, social media is where you need to be!

Having grown up in a digital world, it comes as no surprise that Gen Z are big drivers of online ordering, ordering a takeaway a whopping 8.8 times a month on average! It also won’t surprise you to know that they prefer to do so via mobile. They like a slick and easy ordering experience that apps can bring which is why they can convert up to 157% better than web traffic. With Slerp you can have your own ordering app available for only £25 per month (per site).

So Gen Z are tech savvy, influential and have high buying power, if you weren’t already convinced, perhaps you are now. Even still, their generation is the future, as they age, more of them will become your staff and your customers, so it’s definitely worth considering how your business might appeal to them.

Slerp is an online ordering platform designed specifically for the hospitality industry.
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