Gen Z orders over the phone

Technology-enabled ordering is the love language of Gen Z. | Photo: Shutterstock

From online ordering to loyalty programs to AI and robots, there's more technology swirling around restaurants these days than ever before.

However, the funds that businesses can spend on this are limited.

Restaurants must choose carefully which technologies they use to operate. So the question is how to decide.

One proven method is to follow your customers. And there is perhaps no demographic that restaurants are currently targeting as much as Gen Z. Gen Z is the 18-year-old to 27-year-old consumer group that will make up the industry's core audience for decades to come.

“When you look at the numbers of Gen Z and Millennials, they outnumber Gen X and baby boomers,” said Hudson Leal, senior vice president of research and knowledge at the National Restaurant Association. And these young people have very different perceptions and expectations about technology than their parents and grandparents.

According to the Restaurant Association's Restaurant Technology Landscape Report released this week, Gen Z and Millennials generally prefer technology and see it positively impacting their experiences in both fast food and sit-down dining. What you feel is probably not surprising.

But what may not be so obvious is that Gen Z is actually slightly less enthusiastic about technology than Millennials.

According to the report, when it comes to limited service restaurants (LSR), 57% of Millennials say technology provides a positive experience, compared to 53% of Gen Z. And from a full-service perspective, 48% of Millennials say they want more technology options, compared to just 43% of Gen Z.

With that in mind, Gen Z thinks: do According to the report, they want to be more technologically aware when dining out.

Order and pay easier

At the top of Gen Z's technology wish list is something that makes ordering and paying at restaurants easier and faster. 36% want a smoother ordering process at LSRs, and 34% say the same about full-service restaurants (FSRs).

This includes ordering through mobile apps (79%), tablets at tables (76%), and kiosks (73%). A whopping 60% even said they enjoyed ordering by scanning his QR code.

About three-quarters of Gen Z also expect easy payments through tablets, digital wallets, and other contactless methods.

All of the above also applies to restaurant deliveries. According to the report, 73% of Gen Z would rather order from a restaurant that incorporates technology into the delivery process than one that offers “traditional delivery services.”

Bottom line: If your restaurant targets Gen Z customers and doesn't have tech-enabled ordering and payment options, you should probably work on it.

Pre-order at FSR

The majority of Gen Z (88%) would like to order online in advance for a sit-down location so their food is ready upon arrival.

This form of technology is not common in today's FSRs and requires strong integration and coordination between front-of-house and back-of-house. However, Gen Z apparently doesn't like sitting down and eating for long periods of time.

“When doing customer satisfaction research, the turning point is whether or not the parties actually have control over when they leave the table,” Riehle says.

pay for table

Gen Zers seem to be concerned about getting in and out of restaurants as efficiently as possible, but they're also picky about where they sit.

More than half (54%) said they would be willing to pay a small fee (perhaps $10) to reserve a specific table on a restaurant seating chart.

it looks like this It has become difficult to make reservations At many popular table service spots.

dynamic pricing

that's right. He found that 71% of Gen Zers said they agreed with the surge pricing strategy that sent Wendy's into trouble just a few weeks ago.

Riehle pointed out that dynamic (fluctuating or surging) pricing has existed for decades in the form of happy hours and other time-of-day specials. Technology has simply allowed restaurants to adjust prices in real time.

This means that prices can be lower during off-season periods, which is likely to be appealing to Gen Z, who were perhaps the most interested in variable prices of all generations.

Still, the findings are very different from the reaction Wendy's received when it said it intended to test the technology, an announcement it later retracted.

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