Catering to Generation Z

Generation Z is entering college. It's time to think about the needs of this generation when it comes to attracting them to your college, and getting them to stay. Did you know that food plays a role in college selection criteria? A quick Google search will show college rankings by their dining hall options.

College students today have more choices when it comes to their dining options. More than two-thirds take advantage of student deals offered by local and independent eateries. And considering almost half of college students don’t have campus meal plans, there is a risk of losing them not just to other eateries, but also as a student. We know that retention rates are impacted by a student’s social experience. The more socially connected they feel, the more likely they are to stay. 62% of students said eating in the dining center made them feel more socially connected. So how do you get them to your dining halls?

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First, consider that Gen Z is the first generation to completely grow up in the digital age. They can find the answer to anything and everything. And they like to document every part of their lives. They want every experience to be picture-perfect for social media.

In fact, experiences are everything to Gen Z. They are willing to spend more money on dining experiences than any other category, including clothing, concerts and electronics. Gen Z’S, in general, are drawn to restaurants that are accessible, tech-friendly, and use clean ingredients. Restaurants like Chipotle and Panera.

Eating well is important to Gen Z. They want to know everything about the food they eat – from where it’s from and how it was grown to who made it. 41% of Gen Zers surveyed said they’re willing to pay a premium for healthier food (compared to 32% of millennials).

Did you know that Gen Z is the most ethnically diverse generation? Not surprisingly they love ethnic cuisine. Grab their attention with blended cuisines and putting recipes together in novel and exciting ways. And make sure they are photo worthy!

What changes are you making to meet the needs of Gen Z? Comment below.