Instore - June 2018 - 52
makes way for
Digital, value and social awareness
among trends driving youngest
consumers by Andy Nelson
n an era where foodservice sales are flat and food delivery is
expanding rapidly, it's more important than ever to draw people in
to restaurants and other foodservice settings - including instore
prepared foods sections - with the promise of memorable experiences.
And foodservice operators looking to pick up their game would be wise
to take their cues from the youngest diners among us.
Those were among the takeaways from a May 19 presentation at the
2018 National Restaurant Association Show, "The Future of Guest
Experience," which featured both industry leaders and Chicago-area
Gen Zers who work in foodservice.
"Gen Z is a force that the foodservice industry must become acutely
aware of if it wants to grow and to stay relevant," said Alec Frisch, vice
president and general manager of GP PRO, a division of Atlanta-based
52 * JUNE 2018 * instore
paper manufacturing and distributing giant Georgia Pacific, which
sponsored the presentation.
The foodservice industry is going through a period of intense change,
filled with challenges and opportunities, and Gen Z is "leading that
change," said Abhijeet Jadhav, GP PRO's senior manager for marketing
strategy and the presentation's moderator.
Members of Gen Z have shorter attention spans, want value for their
money and are "much more supportive" than other demographic
groups of brands that reflect their social values, Jadhav said. They
want experiences that are "buzz-worthy," he said - something they can
share with friends and family.
And, of course, they want to share all those things online. Don't forget,
presentation panelists said, that online is about the only way to reach
this target audience - the first "tech natives," as Jadhav called them.
"You're not able to get to them through traditional methods - only 7
percent of them watch TV," said Brandy Blackwell, director of off-premise
marketing for Atlanta-based McAlister's Deli. You Tube, Twitter, Snapchat
and Instagram (Facebook not so much) might be your best bets.