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The Secrets to Winning Gen Z’s Dining Dollars: Trust, Value, and Social Media

gen z dining

Building trust is imperative when attempting to win over Gen Z consumers – and that notion was reinforced by a study released Monday morning.

The research shared by Deliverect – a global food tech SaaS company – and Censuswide revealed that 93% of Gen Zers value food recommendations from friends and family over social media influencers. Deliverect noted that “trust is an incredibly valuable metric for Gen Z; they want to feel confident in the advice they receive, whether from friends, family, or their favorite food-influencer.”

The study detailed the sentiments of more than 3,500 Gen Z consumers (18 to 27 years old) in the U.S. and UK.

“Gen Z presents a unique, yet vital, opportunity for restaurants,” Deliverect CEO Zhong Xu said in a statement.

“Building trust and offering delicious food at a fair price is the recipe for success with this generation.”

While Gen Zers trust those close to them the most for food recommendations, social media is slightly more influential for discovering new places to eat (48%, versus 44% for friends and family). TikTok is particularly influential, with 70% of young adults considering it the most valuable source for recommendations, followed by Instagram (65%).

Deliverect also revealed that 73% of Gen Zers consider themselves foodies.

Cost-conscious Mindset

Cost is a critical factor in Gen Zers’ dining choices; 42% of that cohort cited value as a key reason for returning to a restaurant. In fact, for these young consumers, cost consistently comes before other important factors such as service, location, and cuisine type.

Other top spending priorities for Gen Z include:

  • Groceries (38%)
  • Car payments (22%)
  • Clothes shopping (26%)
  • Social activities (19%)

Deliverect also reported that, regardless of their situation in life, many Gen Zers are homebodies. Consider: 42% of respondents said they prefer to order in rather than go out to eat on a Friday night, a potential carryover habit from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Leveraging the power of user-generated content, and catering to (Gen Z consumers’) desire for convenience,” Xu said, “are core principles that will help restaurants remain a top spending priority for Gen Z.”


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