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BCRFA INDUSTRY NEWS
iGen, also known as Generation Z, is a huge group of young employees coming up to ages where they are making an impact on the workforce. Personally, I like the iGen label because it makes it easier to remember who we are taking about – but you’ll frequently see references to GenZ.
Most demographers define this age group as those born from the mid-1990s to mid-2000s, making them roughly ages 13 to 23. They make up 25 per cent of the population Canada-wide, which makes them bigger than both boomers and Millennials. In the next few years, that figure will balloon to 33 per cent of the population. In British Columbia, we actually have a statistically smaller group of older iGens and won’t feel the bump of this generation until the youngest of them are of the age to enter our workforce.
Across the country however, this is a huge and diverse generation and the fastest growing group of employees, customers, and voters. Although small in number in BC, they are the current wave of employees that we are bringing into restaurants as servers, busers, hosts and kitchen team.
Just when you thought you were starting to understand Millenials, this generation differentiates itself – and you have more to learn. They grew up with cell phones and had an Instagram account before they started high school. They have used the internet from their youngest years. As a result, Gen Z is already the most influential group of technology trendsetters.
What does that mean for your business? Canadian Restaurant & Foodservice News tells us in a recent article that the first impact is that they don’t only eat regular meals. To meet their needs, operators have to think outside the box: all-day brunch, late evening specials, early bird specials, a new version of the happy hour. Value and price are important – and offering something that fits with a snacking lifestyle.
They are the “Grande, Iced, Sugar-Free, Double Shot Latte With Soy Milk” generation. They order custom and expect customization to be a simple request. Their world is multicultural and their food selections are too. Expect more global and fusion flavours with local ingredients becoming the norm. BC restaurants are a leader in fusion cuisine already – so this is a great opportunity for us to lead.
More good news – Technomic tell us they like to dine out: Gen Z diners already outspend Boomers in reported monthly expenditures on food prepared outside the home.
It’s all about the story and that’s where local fits in again. They want to know what’s in that menu item and where the ingredients came from and whether or they’re fresh or organic. They want the backstory: better if there is something unknown or unusual to differentiate a food, a meal or an experience. As leaders in local, BC restaurateurs have another fabulous opportunity here to stand out and lead the way.
It’s a new generation but the opportunity for restaurants here is fantastic. Read about about iGen and plan your menu to target these new consumers and workers.
For more information, check out this article in Canadian Restaurant & Foodservice News online:
As eating habits shift to include more snacking and sharing when dining out, starters, small plates and sides are becoming increasingly important to operators.
Why does this trend matter?
Consider who is driving this trend. If you are designing new menu items to capitalize on starters, small plates and sides, think no further than to target younger millennials and iGen. They are fast becoming top customers of all restaurant styles – and are eating out the most meals per week.
Starters, small plates and sides can help you drive incremental traffic and build your customers preference for new tastes and to feed dinners cravings. Plus, all three can meet demands across multiple meals, from breakfast through late night.
According to Technomic’s research, consumption varies among starters, small plates and sides. Half of consumers (50%) purchase sides at all or most foodservice visits. Appetizer and small plate consumption trails slightly behind, with 36% and 26% of consumers, respectively, saying they order those items at least most of the time.
In every case, 18- to 34-year-olds skew the highest, with 66% ordering sides, 53% ordering appetizers and 42% ordering small plates most of the time or every time they visit a restaurant or foodservice location.
The top drivers for purchasing appetizers, small plates and sides also vary, but there are common threads. Cravings drive appetizer and side orders, while starter and small plate consumers both point to a need to fill the void before a meal arrives. Group sharing is another reason to order appetizers, whereas individual sampling drives small plate ordering.
Want to add something to enhance your existing starters? Cheese is worth considering: more than seven in 10 consumers like cheesy apps – plus adding cheese helps you drive up your appetizer price point!
Following Ian Tostenson (BC Restaurant and Food Services Association) and Daniel Frankel’s (Tap & Barrel) recent trip to El Salvador, great coverage on the temporary foreign worker file by Glen Korstrom and Business in Vancouver.
Find out more here:
Stay tuned for more Temporary Foreign Worker updates – in this era of labour shortage, it’s a key file for us at the BCRFA.