Younger consumers tend to be especially harsh on restaurants, PYMNTS research reveals, and given that they are also frequent reviewers, eateries must work hard to get in Gen Z’s good graces.
The latest edition of PYMNTS’ exclusive Connected Dining report, “Connected Dining: Word of Mouth in the Digital Age,” which draws from a May survey of a census-balanced panel of more than 2,200 U.S. consumers, reveals that, among all age groups, Generation Z is the least likely to leave a positive restaurant review and the most likely to leave a negative one.
Only 69% of Gen Z reviews are positive, while every other generation’s positive reviews accounted for 82% or more of total reviews. Meanwhile, 15% of Gen Z restaurant reviews were negative, well above the 6% of millennial reviews that were the same.
This is especially relevant to restaurants considering that Gen Z consumers are relatively frequent reviewers, with 38% reporting having left a review in the last month, well above the 16% of baby boomers and seniors and 28% of Generation X consumers, and only slightly below the 41% of millennials and 40% of bridge millennials.
Noting this need to continue to curry these young consumers’ favor, restaurants are doing everything in their power to meet Generation Z diners’ expectations, both in terms of their culinary preferences and their overall lifestyle trends.
Fast-casual giant Chipotle Mexican Grill, for instance, has been trying to engage them by tapping into emerging food trends.
“With Farmesa, we are tapping into the fresh eatery food trend that is in demand among Chipotle’s target demographic, Gen Z and millennials,” Nate Lawton, vice president of new ventures at Chipotle, told PYMNTS in an interview.
Meanwhile, Cava, the fast-casual Mediterranean chain that recently far surpassed expectations when it went public via initial public offering (IPO), has been looking to win Gen Z’s favor with targeted partnerships.
“Our first campaign with top influencer, Emma Chamberlain, in 2022 drove incremental traffic, increased brand awareness with the Gen Z audience, and helped CAVA be voted for the first time as one of upper income female Gen Z’s top five favorite restaurant brands in a third-party survey,” the restaurant chain shared in its Form S-1 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in advance of its IPO. “We see opportunities to build upon this success and execute other brand collaborations to fortify our brand awareness across attractive demographics.”