Gen Z's Restaurant Tech Preferences: What Do You Need to Know?

May 14, 2024
Gen Z
Restaurant Technology
Tech Preference
Contactless Solutions

According to a recent March 2024 article in Restaurant Business, the restaurant industry's focus is on Gen Z, the group of consumers aged 18 to 27 who will shape the industry's core audience for decades to come.

Dining Facts About Gen Z

A 2023 Business Insider article* states “Gen Z is significantly shaping the dining landscape, spending much of their disposable income on dining out.” Their preference for affordable options and value-conscious choices underscores their desire for both quality and cost-effectiveness. Furthermore, Gen Zers are enthusiastic about making dining experiences special by splurging on sides and drink. And they like to invest in creating memorable meal occasions. Additionally, their proclivity for takeout orders demonstrates their prioritization of convenience and speedy food delivery, highlighting the importance of meeting their expectations for efficient dining experiences.

Gen Z and Restaurant Tech

With 82 percent of Gen Z adults comfortable placing an order at a limited-service restaurant (LSR) with a smart phone app, it's crucial for restaurant owners to adapt to the changing times and implement technology solutions that cater to this growing demographic.

According to the Restaurant Business article, Gen Z’s tech preferences include things that make ordering and paying easier and faster in restaurants.

  • Thirty-six percent want a smoother ordering process at LSRs, while 34% said so about full-service restaurants, or FSRs.
  • They are fine ordering on a mobile app (79%), on a table tablet (76%) or at a kiosk (73%).
  • A majority (88%) of Gen Zers would like to order online in advance from a sit-down restaurant so that their food is ready soon after they arrive.
  • 60% even said they’re good scanning a QR code to order as well. 

Gen Z diners are the pioneers of a new era of contactless solutions that allows them to order food and dine-in with minimal physical contact. These are applications that eliminate the need for physical interaction by allowing diners to order their meals, pay their bills and even summon wait staff to their tables, all using their smartphones or other devices, such as pay at the table tablet-based devices. 

Here are the top five most popular trends in Gen Z preferences for restaurant technology:

  1. Mobile Ordering: With 82 percent of Gen Z adults comfortable using smartphone apps to place orders, mobile ordering is rapidly growing in popularity. Restaurants that implement mobile ordering solutions can save customers the time and effort of standing in long lines, while also boosting profits from additional orders.
  2. Contactless Payment: In addition to mobile ordering, contactless payment options such as Apple and Google Pay are also on the rise. These solutions allow diners to make swift and secure payments with ease, further reducing the need for physical contact.
  3. Digital menus: With the prevalence of smartphones, digital menus have become popular among Gen Zers. According to a recent study, 57% of Gen Z respondents said they avoid restaurants with outdated menus. Digital menus offer dynamic display of meals with options for price, allergen information and even sustainability. And quality images of mouth-watering dishes on digital menus naturally helps the guest decide what to order. 
  4. Self-Service Kiosks: Self-service kiosks allow diners to order and pay for their meals without interacting with restaurant staff thus reducing wait times, order inaccuracies and the need for cash transactions.
  5. VR and AR experiences: Young people are interested in “Instagrammable”, unique and technologically advanced experiences. Virtual and augmented reality experiences can add a futuristic touch to restaurant aesthetics, leaving a lasting impression on diners.

According to a survey by the National Restaurant Association, dining technology is becoming increasingly important to the younger generation, with 36% of consumers aged 18-34 looking for restaurants that make technology a top priority. For restaurants, this means investment in technology is key to attracting and retaining these customers.

Implementing technology solutions that cater to Gen Z's preferences can improve a restaurant's efficiency while also enhancing the overall dining experience for these diners. Ziosk is the restaurant technology platform that offers a range of solutions and options for restaurants to cater to this growing segment.

Ziosk is famous for its tabletop tablets that provide guests with private and efficient contactless payment options. Our latest innovations include the Ziosk Pro Server Tablet, a handheld device that streamlines instant ordering from table to kitchen, and Drop & Pay™ digital check presenters, which allow busy Gen Zers to pay in seconds while facilitating surveys, loyalty programs, and enhancing server productivity. To meet the growing demand for mobile ordering, our app plugin, DigiSite, leverages location identification to help restaurants sequence orders based on guest proximity, ensuring meals are served fresh and promptly.

Looking ahead, it is imperative that restaurants adopt technology to meet the demands of Gen Z diners, who are likely to continue seeking out the convenience and efficiency offered by tech solutions. By investing in technology today, restaurants can continue to attract and retain these tech-savvy customers in the future.



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