Generational Drivers

Published :  September 1, 2022

Who Does Your Menu Speak To?

Drive more traffic by understanding what drives the purchase decisions of each generation.

No matter who walks through your door, the hope is that every customer will find exactly what they’re looking for. And while you can’t be everything to everyone, you can have a menu that satisfies the type of customer your operation appeals to. The question is: who is your customer and what drives them to make the decisions they do (including the choice to order from your operation)? Get the answers by getting to know today’s restaurant customer generation by generation. It all starts here with an overview of what defines each generation and what their needs and restaurant preferences look like, including a more detailed series of articles to come.

Gen Z (also called Zoomers): Born between 1997 and 2010

The youngest generation of purchasers has the mindset of living a life full of purpose. Of all generations they are the most willing to try new restaurants and open themselves up to new experiences.”

Stress relief, trendy items, and indulgence.

Restaurant preferences:
Gen Z gravitates toward restaurants that offer delivery and make a point of being socially/environmentally responsible. They acknowledge that their eating habits aren’t that healthy but aren’t concerned enough about it to change.

Drink preferences: Lemonade, juice, sparkling water, ready-to-drink coffee, energy drinks, and bottled water.

Have you tried: Dole® Lemonade and bubly™ Sparkling Water?

Millennials: Born between 1979 and 1996

Ultimately, millennials aim to lead an “interesting life”—a goal that is reflected in their food choices. More than any other generation, they say they “love trying new foods—the crazier/more unique the better.”

New and exciting items (but only if they believe it will deliver on taste).

Restaurant preferences:
This group seeks out kid-friendly ambience and menu options as well as items that will satisfy their own adventurous tastes. They recognize their past poor eating habits and are aspiring to find healthier options.

Drink preferences:
Sparkling water, flavored waters, ready-to-drink coffee, and energy drinks.

Have you tried: Starbucks® Ready-to-Drink Coffee and Rockstar® Energy Drinks?

Gen X: Born between 1965 and 1978

Living a “balanced life” is what rises to the top for Generation X. They look for foods and beverages that fit into the idea of balance as well, seeking out items that deliver benefit along with enjoyment.

Quality and flavor, visual appeal, the promise of great taste.

Restaurant preferences:
Larger portions and a selection of foods and beverages that feature healthier aspects appeal to Gen X-ers. They tend to avoid dining in and are more actively making an effort to cook at home.

Drink preferences:
Diet carbonated soft drinks and sparkling water.

Have you tried: Pepsi® Zero Sugar Soft Drinks?

Baby Boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964

Choices are important to this generation but, overall, these customers desire familiarity. They might not go out of their way to try new foods but are willing to try foods and beverages they know that offer a “new” twist.

Value that fits the price and health-conscious choices.

Restaurant preferences:
Coupons are likely to catch the attention of Boomers as do restaurants who use fresh ingredients and offer outdoor seating. Some only eat out if outdoor seating is available.

Drink preferences:
Diet carbonated soft drinks and freshly brewed iced tea.

Have you tried: Pure Leaf® Premium Iced Teas?

There’s a good chance you’ve noticed the preferences of some of these generational groups based on who you serve (and how you serve them) every day. Taking your own observations and pairing with these insights can help you tailor your menu and overall operation to make your connection with customers even stronger. Meet us back here in a few months to learn more and strengthen traffic. Until then, if you have questions about ways you can build up your beverage and appeal to key customers, we’re happy to help. Just contact us.

Technomic Generational CTR 2020; Technomic Ignite consumer brand metrics data, Q2 2019-Q1 2020
iBev – Generational analysis Oct 2020