Exploring Foodservice Expectations by Generation

Technomic’s Generational Consumer Trend Report released.

Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers total about 74 percent of the U.S. population — and make up the bulk of today’s foodservice consumers. While some similarities exist from generation to generation, they also have their own distinct ideas as to what they value when it comes to foodservice. Here we explore the results of Technomic’s Generational Consumer Trend Report.

Gen Z represents the future foodservice consumer. A generation on the move, Gen Zers strongly prioritize speed of service, technology, and having what they want when they want it. Millennials, more so than older generations, prefer to visit restaurants that offer new and unique foods and flavors. Gen X and Boomers converge on several preferences, such as the importance of a convenient location.

“Regardless of the generation, it’s vital for restaurant operators and suppliers to understand their core audience,” says Sara Monnette, senior director, consumer insights for Technomic.

Other key findings from Technomic’s Generational Consumer Trend report include:

  • Gen Zers and Millennials tend to be more optimistic about and reliant on foodservice: they’re more likely than older generations to anticipate increases in foodservice visits in the next year.
  • Dining format preferences vary by generation: of all generations, Boomers are most likely to visit restaurants for dine-in, Gen Z are most likely to order takeout, and Millennials are most likely to opt for delivery.
  • Speedy service is key for the youngest generation: for example, Gen Z places the highest importance on fast service at limited-service restaurants (54 percent), compared to just two-fifths of Millennials (40 percent), Gen Xers (41 percent) and Baby Boomers (43 percent).
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