Gen Z: The Dining Powerhouse You Need to Know About

Jun 24, 2024

Gen Z, the generation born between 1997 and 2012, is now a force to consider within the dining industry. While Gen Z might be strapped for cash, they’re more likely to spend what they have on experiences like eating out, making them a valuable customer base.

Here’s what TouchBistro’s 2024 U.S. Diner Report tells us about Gen Z’s dining habits:

  • Delivery Devotees: Unlike older generations who prefer pickup, nearly half (46%) of Gen Z diners crave delivery and want it fast – with an average wait time tolerance of only 33 minutes.
  • Dining Dynasty: Gen Z outshines all other age groups when dining out. A whopping 64% eat in restaurants weekly, compared to the US average of 39%.
  • Takeout Titans: They’re also the takeout/delivery champions, with 69% ordering weekly, exceeding the national average of 43%.

These stats clearly show that Gen Z is shaping the restaurant landscape.

Value Versus Volume: The Gen Z Balancing Act

Gen Z craves experiences but is budget-conscious. They spend more on dining than any other generation, yet value is paramount. Here’s how they navigate this:

  • Deal Diggers: A significant 46% prioritize deals and specials when choosing restaurants, a higher percentage than any other age group.
  • Loyalty Leaders: Value translates to loyalty programs for Gen Z. They participate more than any other generation, with 42% enrolled and 53% engaging weekly (compared to just 22% of Baby Boomers).
  • Perks over Pizza: Discounts and freebies are nice, but Gen Z seeks program perks that enhance convenience. Mobile ordering options are a top motivator for 40% of Gen Z, compared to 22% of Millennials.

The Need for Speed: A Delivery Generation

Gen Z expects lightning-fast service, especially for takeout and delivery. Here’s what they find frustrating:

  • Delivery Deadline: Over half (53%) would cancel an order exceeding 30 minutes.
  • Accuracy Anxiety: Nearly a third (28%) find order inaccuracy their biggest disappointment with delivery.
  • Cold Comfort: Cold food is a major turn-off for 23% of Gen Z diners.

The Takeaway: Cater to Convenience

To attract Gen Z:

  1. Prioritize off-premise ordering with a focus on speed and accuracy.
  2. Invest in technology that streamlines online orders and ensures food quality during delivery.
  3. Remember, Gen Z values convenience, so make their dining experience effortless and enjoyable.


By understanding Gen Z’s preferences and catering to their needs, you can stay ahead of the curve, gain a competitive edge, and better position your restaurant for success.