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food industry, marketers need to understand that this generation grew up knowing that food is for much more than sustenance; food represents culture and therefore is an expression of who they are,” notes research firm NPD in its 2018 Thought Leadership series. EY’s Rise of Gen Z report says that these young consumers are more likely to start their own businesses. In fact more than six (6) in tehn (10) plan to do so, in large part due to their selfreliance: “71 percent expect their first business venture to fail but view failure as a learning opportunity.” With this fierce self-reliance and determination, Gen Z consumers will be harder to engage, and harder to win over. They can be more practical and realistic—even pragmatic. KEY TECH IMPERATIVES

Restaurant companies need to embrace technology to quicken the pace of the onpremise experience and to provide more, easilyaccessible information about their menus, foods, allergens, ingredients, calories, and so forth. Restaurants should also be where this Gen Z customer is. Gone are the days of contemplating an online presence. Today, a total digital presence is what's required—online, mobile and social channels are a must. Duncan says that responding to online reviews is a necessity, particularly as this can signal to diners that a 

restaurant company cares about its guests’ experiences and gives it ability to change the opinion of a guest. Eighty-five percent of a person’s time is spent on their top 5 apps, leaving only 15 percent of the time for the others, notes Duncan. When rolling out mobile apps, restaurants should pay close attention to the features that are integrated within them and what value proposition they offer. Restaurant companies cannot afford to release apps just for the sake of releasing them. Mobile apps that offer unique features and perks are going to have a higher chance of engaging the user. A total of 72 percent of Gen Z consumers share photos of their foods on apps, notes Duncan. And contrary to popular belief, Gen Z consumers have not abandoned Facebook, she says. It is critical for restaurants to be on social media and to post regularly in order to keep engagement with their fans. In its Thought Leadership series, NPD says, “Gen Z consumers think of themselves as having a personal brand with a story and values by which to live. They seek brands that support their story,  and they are willing to use them regardless of a brand’s size.” In Gen Z, we are sure to see an almost functional use of social media, and we’ll learn to appreciate a group of consumers with rigid expectations about brand narratives because of this Rise of Gen Z suggests that traditional loyalty programs may 


Eatery Pulse DC Restaurant News | Summer 2018