how to attract a younger crowd to a restaurant
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

Are you looking to attract more Gen Z and millennial customers to your restaurant? You’re in the right place! We look at the food and dining preferences of the young generation, as well as how to attract a younger crowd to a restaurant without breaking the bank.

Understanding the Younger Crowd, Their Needs & Preferences

To learn how to attract a younger crowd to your restaurant, be that Gen Z or millennials, you need to understand what they’re looking for in a dining experience.

According to the National Restaurant Association, both younger generations are embracing technology and diversity when it comes to their food:

  • More than half of Gen Zers would opt for tablet/smartphone ordering vs a traditional wait service.
  • 72% of millennials and 66% of Gen Z consider takeout and delivery as ‘essential to their lifestyle.
  • 94% of millennials say would like more variety of to-go foods, so long as the packaging maintains their temperature, taste, and quality. Moreover, 7 in 10 are willing to pay more for upgraded packaging.
  • Eight in 10 Gen Zers would purchase a meal kit from one of their favorite restaurants.
  • 62% of millennials and 70% of Gen Z adults say the option to add alcohol to takeout or delivery orders would influence their decision to choose one restaurant over another.

So, if you’re wondering ‘What do Gen Z look for in a restaurant?’ or ‘How do I attract millennials to my restaurant?’, the answer lies in convenience, diversity, and new experiences.

What type of foods does the younger generation prefer?

While we’re on the topic of attracting Gen Z and millennials to your restaurant, what better way to draw them in than by catering to the hottest food trends:

  • Natural, organic products that are sourced responsibly.
  • Fresh, healthy food made with locally grown ingredients.
  • Bold and creative food that looks good and catches the eye.
  • Small, bite-sized food that they can sample and share.
  • Plant-based dishes that accommodate varied diets.

How to Attract a Younger Crowd to a Restaurant

1. Offer takeout and delivery options

Give customers the option to order your delicious dishes at home, for delivery or pickup. This will allow you to expand your restaurant beyond your physical location.

how to attract a younger crowd to a restaurant: offer delivery and pickup

Great news! You can enable both for free using the GloriaFood online ordering system. Setup takes less than 10 minutes, and it requires no tech know-how.

Attract a younger restaurant crowd with accessible takeaway options Install the free online ordering system from GloriaFood today

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial you can follow:

2. Enable tableside ordering for dine-in

Speed up service at your restaurant and serve more client every day by allowing them to order and pay for their food at the table, by scanning a QR code.

Tableside ordering is a must-have for restaurants wondering how to attract a younger crowd. Generate a QR code menu, print it on flyers, and display it on every table with instructions on how to use it.

how to attract lunch crowd: serve them faster with a QR code menu

Here’s how to set up QR code ordering for free using GloriaFood:

To attract more takeaway customers, create dishes that they can only order online. A separate menu for pickup and delivery will encourage clients to try out new things.

Remember to invest in quality packaging to make sure the food arrives in perfect condition, and you don’t get negative reviews.

restaurant offer ideas: create a takeaway exclusive menu

If you’re worried about the time it will take to constantly update your menu, fret no more. GloriaFood’s online menu builder enables you to make as many changes as you want in seconds. Here’s how it works:

4. Offer meal kits

Be more than the place where customers go to dine out when they don’t feel like cooking. Be the restaurant that provides them with quality meal kits when they want to cook a restaurant-quality meal at home.

food trends among college students: meal kits

5. Sell to-go alcohol

For people who want to enjoy a nice cocktail, glass of wine, or beer at home, create a to-go drinks menu that satisfies varied tastes, including non-alcoholic options.

You can deliver cocktails and house wines in mason jars to ensure they won’t get spilled in transport.

how to attract a younger crowd to a restaurant: sell to-go drinks

6. Create a vegan and vegetarian menu

You can attract a larger crowd by catering to different diets. The most common ones are vegan and vegetarian but consider other diets like gluten-free if you want to ensure everyone can find something to eat at your restaurant.

healthy food promotion ideas: create a vegan and vegetarian menu

Mark your dishes with icons to signal to customers that they are vegetarian, nut-free, gluten-free, and more. Here’s how:

7. Offer group promotions and deals

The younger generation loves spending quality time with friends while enjoying a delicious meal. Whether that is in a restaurant or at home, give them a good deal on meal bundles and food combos.

food promotion ideas: offer group discounts and bundles

You can create any type of promotion you can think of using the promo templates built into our online ordering system:

how to attract college students to your restaurant: offer regular promotions and discounts

Target Gen Z and millennials with meal bundles and group promos Set up a promo in minutes with our restaurant promotions engine

Simply follow the steps in the video below to learn how to set up a promotion:

8. Kickstart happy hour

Gen Z adults and millennials love to unwind after a stressful day at work by enjoying a glass of wine or a cocktail with friends or coworkers.

Institute happy hour between 5 and 7 PM on weekdays and offer attractive discounts on all alcoholic drinks to cater to the younger crowd.

Here are some happy hour ideas for your bar or restaurant:

  • Shareable appetizers that go well with beer.
  • Themed parties.
  • Free snack if you order more than 2 drinks.
  • Happy hour trivia.
  • Cocktail pitchers to share.

9. Add nutritional information and allergens to the menu

As we’ve mentioned, the younger generations are extremely health-conscious and want to be informed about what they’re consuming.

To that end, if your menu contains detailed information about allergens and nutritional values, they will be more likely to come back to your restaurant knowing what they see is what they get.

include nutritional values and allergens in your menu to attract a younger crowd

10. Elevate your food plating

Gen Zers and millennials don’t just appreciate tasty food. They look for food that not just tastes good but looks good as well.

If you want your food to be Instagrammable, invest some time and effort into attractive food plating. Customers will be tempted to snap a picture of it and share it online, which will bring you new business.

attractive food plating will attract younger customers

Bottom Line

Young restaurant customers like Gen Z and millennials look for convenient ways to order food, as well as a larger variety of dishes and an overall above-average dining experience. Implement the tips above to learn how to attract a younger crowd to a restaurant.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She creates guides and resources designed to help restaurants grow their presence online and boost sales.

She has been featured on the Oracle Food and Beverage Blog and wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.

Find me on LinkedIn.