White Paper

Impact of Gen Z on the Restaurant Industry

Generation Z is on the rise. According to the United States Census Bureau, there are currently
about 82 million of them, and growing. At 25.9 percent, they make up over one-quarter
of America’s population. By 2020, that number will rise to over 30 percent of the general
population and 40 percent of the U.S. workforce. They are on track to becoming the
biggest group of consumers in the history of the U.S. Globally, they make up approximately
2.52 billion of the world’s population.
Those who find themselves in Generation Z were born in 1996 or later. Why 1996? According
to The Center for Generational Kinetics, those born from 1996 onward do not remember
September 11, 2001—a defining moment for Millennials. The other unique experience
that sets this generation apart is this: they are the world’s first “digital native.” They have
never known life without the internet and this one fact, to a large degree, has shaped their
lives and their thought processes.
Overshadowed by the media-hype of the millennial generation, they have just recently
made their mark as the generation to watch. And being watched they are. Companies
such as Charles Schwab, Campbell Soup and Macy’s Inc are changing their whole marketing
strategies based upon the wants and demands of this generation. Why is this important
to you, as a restaurateur? According to asset management firm Piper Jaffray, Generation Z
spends 20 percent more of their dollars at restaurants than Millennials were in 2003 when
they were of a similar age. In fact, this generation that has entered the spotlight spends
more money on dining out than on clothing or music. To take advantage of this burgeoning
segment of the population, you must come to understand them. And to know them is to
love them.

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