12 Steps to Appeal to Each Generation: from Baby Boomers to Gen Z

It’s easy to get discouraged when you read all the newest research about how to appeal to the latest generation. After all, you’re not in business to cater to just one generation’s preferences.

Well, good news! Capturing the approval of each generation all at once might not be as difficult as you imagined. To start, every generation has been shown to put health consciousness at the top of their priority list. And taking a further look, there are some simple ways to win each group over without alienating another.

Here are 12 steps to appeal to each generation, from the Baby Boomers to Generation Z...


Baby Boomers 




1. Facebook’s not dead.

Though some of your younger customers might have fled the platform, Facebook should remain a part of your digital strategy. 72% of Baby Boomers are on Facebook, and 15.5% spend more than 11 hours per week on it. 

How to achieve this... If you don't have one already, create a Facebook page for your business. Be sure to advertise and to post regular photos, reviews, and brand events. Gear your messaging towards Baby Boomers. They are more likely than any other generation to share your content – so it won’t be a wasted effort. 


2. Don’t forget grandma and grandpa.

The way to a Boomer’s loyalty is through their grandchildren. It's clear that today's Baby Boomers are very involved with their grandchildren's lives, whether it be at school, home, or on the soccer field.

How to achieve this... Healthy, kid-friendly options are important. Panera Bread has this covered by offering all kid's meals with organic squeezable yogurt or an apple. Noodles and Company ditched the idea of a kids menu altogether and instead offer two sizes of their dishes - small or regular. They post the calorie count next to each dish as well. 


3. Show some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Baby boomers have higher expectations when it comes to manners. With spending power of $2.1 trillion (much greater than any other generation), you don't want Baby Boomers to close their wallets because they don't feel respected by your staff.

How to achieve this... It's as simple as your staff saying "please" and "thank you" and showing off a grin now and then. In fact, it’s been shown that Self-Order Kiosks can help you achieve this goal by freeing up your staff to focus on creating a positive guest experience.



Generation X 




4. Speed up!

Gen Xers are busy juggling families and working long hours. Although they would probably enjoy sitting down for a long dinner, they just don't have the time. Whether they choose to sit down for a quick bite, or need to take it on-the-go, speed is key.

How to achieve this... Do you have a drive-thru? Consider adding a NEXTEP Touchscreen Drive-Thru. This maximizes speed-of-service and gives the customer total control when placing their order. 


5. Drink menu, please.

According to Technomic Inc., Gen Xers enjoy adult beverages more than any other generation. After (or during) a long week of work and carpools, this generation needs something to take the edge off.

How to achieve this... Offer a trendy booze selection by adding a twist to traditional cocktails. Try a Spicy Mule that has all the ingredients of a traditional Moscow Mule in addition to a few jalapeño slices. 


6. Convenience is key.

This group relies on a swift takeout/delivery system that can relieve any built-up pressure on getting dinner on the table at a reasonable time. 

How to achieve this... Implement a mobile ordering strategy. In the interest of keeping the guest experience consistent (and your check averages high), make sure your mobile ordering mirrors your self-order UX.






7. Less is more.

Eating smaller meals throughout the day is a norm for Millennials. This group likes to snack, and appetizer-like meals are the way to a Millennial's loyalty.

How to achieve this... Make room for a wide variety of appetizer options. Include some delicious fried zucchini bites or calamari, but also be sure to have healthier options, like roasted brussels sprouts or cauliflower.  


8. Living for rewards.

Millennials are certainly motivated by restaurant loyalty programs, but just any reward program won't do. The number one reason Millennials tend to quit them is if they feel rewards take too long to accrue.

How to achieve this...  Whether app- or phone number-based, create a seamless experience where guests can have full control and full insight by pulling up their loyalty account at a self-order kiosk. Transparency is the key to reminding your guests that they've got rewards in store for them!


9. Interaction on social media matters.

It's become a course of habit for Millennials to interact with restaurants on social media - especially on Instagram. They like to check-in or tag where they are eating and of course post a cool photo with the perfect filter.

How to achieve this... Having solid profiles, a branded hashtag, and a social sensibility is important.  Millennials value being able to interact with you, even when they’re not in your store. That means you need to be conversational (read: interactive) on social media, rather than just broadcasting your messaging.



Generation Z 




10. Be "Insta-worthy". 

Gen Z’s are extremely active on social media. In fact, they would rather spend money eating somewhere that offers unique foods or drinks that will rack up Instagram likes.

How to achieve this... Aesthetics play a major role. Foods that have vibrant colors stand out and make it hard for guests to resist taking a photo. Including your logo on your cups, napkins, plates, trays, etc. will give you extra brand recognition in guests' photos.


11. Make a difference.

This group likes to know that what they are doing makes a difference in some way or another. They will choose to go to restaurants that are doing more for the good of others

How to achieve this... Find a cause you believe in, develop a way to help, and spread the word. Some ideas: host a food drive, donate unused food to food banks, give back to the military, donate a percentage of revenue to charity.


12. Tapping through orders.

Gen Z’s opt to use digital ordering instead of traditional ordering methods. Digital ordering is convenient and more fun.

How to achieve this... According to a study, results indicate that 71 percent of respondents between 18 and 34 favor self-service POS. Using NEXTEP Self-Order Kiosks, your guests tap their way through their order, allowing for fewer errors and quicker service.


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