Don’t get caught adrift by generational shift, restaurants warned

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Younger generations (Generation Z and Millennial) will lead vastly different lifestyles from their predecessors, particularly when it comes to foodservice consumption behaviour, a new report has warned.

Restaurants will need to be ready to cater to consumers that are more ethnically diverse, have been exposed to a wider variety of cuisines at youth, and have grown up more reliant on foodservice than members of Generation X and Baby Boomers, according to Technomic.

Its view that operators will need to adapt as generations shift follows a study it undertook of the Canadian foodservice scene. It examined Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers to understand how the foodservice landscape will evolve as younger generations’ spending power grows.

But though a strong presence among younger generations will be essential for success, operators and suppliers must also engage Baby Boomers as, in the case of Canada, they still comprise the largest share of the population.

“In order to stay relevant to specific generations without alienating others and still appeal to a broad base, it’s essential to understand not just generational differences, but also the similarities.” says Kelly Weikel, director of consumer insights at Technomic.

“Seasonal menus and LTOs, for example, enable operators to appeal across groups – these options provide exciting new dishes for younger generations who want to experiment with new foods, flavours and create unique experiences, while allowing them to maintain a familiar menu for older generations who tend to look for their tried-and-true favourites.”

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