Now Serving Elder Z

Now Serving Elder Z: What Restaurant Marketers Need to Know Now

October 14, 2020by Hiebing

For most of the decade, millennials guided restaurant trends, with avocado toast and artisanal coffee becoming staples of their generational diet. But as Gen Z ages and their appetites evolve, brands need to be looking ahead at what influences these future mealtime champions.

To learn more about Gen Z and their appetites, our agency recently conducted primary research on the upper half of this cohort, which we call Elder Z (more here). Elder Z (ages 16-22) is currently in the workforce or about to enter it, which means their purchasing power is on the rise – and they are rising priorities for restaurant marketers.

Our research found that this mobile-oriented cohort prefers convenience and affordability when it comes to choosing a restaurant. As the main mealtime decider of their social circle, an Elder Z is seeking out establishments that offer quality and taste-oriented food vs. health-conscious options. Below, we share more details about Elder Z’s restaurant habits and preferences along with implications of connecting with and better serving Elder Z.

12639ELDER Z’S MAIN SLICELET’S TALK LUNCH Majority of these meals are enjoyed with parentsPlaces Elder Z is most likely to munch:DINE-IN DINNER PREFERRED: PRIME PIZZA TIME: Crust is a must, but Elder Z has other demands:This group bases pizza place preferences on5 TO 9 P.M.CARRYOUTVS. DINE-INCLOSE BYNOT TOOEXPENSIVEFASTSERVICEBURGER& FRIESCHICKEN& FRIESTACOS &BURRITOSITALIANSTEAKHOUSEBAR & GRILLEOne-third prefer a burgerPARENTSFRIENDSLATE-NIGHT BITES: 123CRUSTSIDESAFFORDABLEWho’s digging in with Elder Z the most?35%21%6%7%23%16-2286%81%MENUMENUELDER Z’S RESTAURANT HABITS OVERVIEW:WHAT DRIVESELDER Z’S DECISIONS:WHAT’S TRENDING THROUGHOUT THE DAY FOR ELDER Z: Born 1998-2004, Elder Z is a product of a fast-paced world and places a high value on transparency and authenticityAmong the 613 participants, this is what is inspiring Elder Z’s mealtime decisions…Elder Z women are purchasing food from restaurants more than their male counterparts When choosing what to eat with their families, Elder Z wields more influenceOur participants prefer breakfast spots with:DIVERSE DISHES BREAKFAST BEHAVIORBREAKFAST BEHAVIORParticipants prioritized taste over healthELDER Z IS NOT AN AUDIENCE WOOED BY HEALTH CLAIMS:More than half choose a place that serves a quality cup of coffeeELDER Z LOVES THEIR COFFEE: We surveyed:FEMALEMALECONVENIENCESPEED OFSERVICE54%43%NON-BINARY3%54%TASTYOPTIONSHEALTHYOPTIONSSATISFYINGA CRAVING AFFORDABILITY GOOD FOODPANCAKESVARIETY/SELECTION AFFORDABLESPECIFICMENU ITEM ELDER Z DECIDESPARENT OR GUARDIAN43%32%31%24%10%55%55%27%1263922%SEEK OUT RESTAURANTS WITH A VARIETY OF MENU CHOICES126391263912639Interested in how research can strengthen your brand’s connection with customers? Or simply want to get a leg up on Elder Z with an agency that knows a thing or two about their habits and preferences?Email Ted at to set up a call.*(N=613) Fielded October 24 – November 17, 201958%30%27%26%

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