Do you really know your guests? Here’s how to find out!

Consumer Insights

Quality is an elusive concept. For some, it’s all about local, healthy food, while others may see perfect presentation as the key to quality. First and foremost, quality is a matter of managing expectations and doing the best you can by serving up tasty dishes and providing great service. Here are some questions, facts, tips and insights to help you cater to the needs of your guests!

What’s your generation?

A Boomer walks into a restaurant… and orders something they’ve had a million times before. A Millennial likes to go for a known dish with a twist and a Gen Zer will rather try something entirely new. Each generation has its own habits, flavour preferences and expectations. So, know your generation!

  • Boomers born between the end of World War II and the mid-sixties
  • Gen Xers born between the mid-sixties and the start of the eighties
  • Millennials born between the beginning of the eighties and the late nineties
  • Gen Zers born between the late nineties and early tens
  • Alpha the generation born between 2010 and today

Speedy service for satisfied guests

Speed is an important part of service, especially to Gen Zers and Millennials, whose hectic lifestyles have seen them crave convenience. The following graph shows how important speedy service is to different generations… good to know when you need to speed up!

What percentage of each generation agrees with the statement: ‘When dining out.. service needs to be fast’?*

  • Gen Z 21%
  • Millennials 27%
  • Gen X 14%
  • Boomers 9%

* Survey executed in the Netherlands, source: FSIN Foodshopper monitor 2022

Fully booked? Good on you!

But… how does it affect your guests? A whopping 71% of Boomers will simply look for another restaurant. Gen Z, on the other hand, will still put in an order even if you don’t have a table, with only 28% looking for another restaurant. They’d much rather have food delivered at home or get a takeaway meal.* And why shouldn’t they get it from your restaurant? If you’re looking to boost your revenue, it’s smart to highlight that you offer takeaway meals, both online and at your outlet!

What influences your diners?

When people decide to go out for a meal, what influences their decision most? Knowing what’s most important to your guests will help you cater to their needs. According to Globaldata’s consumer survey, here are the 5 most influential factors for all generations across the globe.* But, they’re not in the right order yet... Do you know the correct order?

A. Convenience

B. A wider variety of dishes

C. Unique or exciting flavours

D. Better value for money

E. Better taste/quality

Answer: 1. E (42%), 2. B (38%) 3. D (34%) 4. A (33%) 5. C (30%)

Price vs. Quality? It’s all about communication!

Price and quality are undeniably related, and with prices rising, it becomes more important to communicate your reasoning behind your prices. Consumers of all generations want to spend their money wisely. 
However, they may be willing to pay a higher price if what they get justifies the price.* Sustainable sourcing and high-quality ingredients cost money, but they also help consumers feel good about what they’re buying. At the same time, it’s important to keep targeting your regulars. A good way to do this is by frequently offering discounted or affordable menu items.* After all, the better your guests feel about the value for money you’re offering, the more they’ll enjoy their experience!

* All data mentioned in this article is derived from: ‘FSIN Foodshopper monitor 2022’, ‘Globaldata Macro Themes ESG Poll Q3 2022’ and/or ‘Globaldata: Consumer Survey Insights: Cost-of-Living Impact on Eating Out, 01-2023’.

The recipe for reviews

In a cross-generational survey from the US, a staggering 73% of people reported being moderately, very, or extremely influenced by online reviews when exploring their options. The chance that a ‘more-than-once-a-week’ guest will use reviews is even 2.14 times higher*. And, especially for the digitally savvy Millennials and Gen Zers, this info is right at their fingertips. So, make sure to get your food quality right… and your reviews!

Do you really know your guests?

Do’s
Encourage guests to leave a review inside the restaurant. That way, they’re more likely to post about good experiences. By the time they’re home, dissatisfied guests are more motivated to write a review than satisfied ones.

Engage with returning customers. Acknowledging that you appreciate them for coming back can help to spread positive word-of-mouth.

Subscribe to Google Alerts for your restaurant. The quicker you know of any news, the faster you can respond to it, or use it for promotion!

Don’ts
Poor online engagement. Teenagers may think it’s cool, but standoffish behaviour is a big turnoff. Whether you’re getting a complaint or a compliment, a quick and professional (or heartfelt thankful) response shows other viewers that you care.

Argue with customers online. Admittedly, some guests are just difficult and it’s easy to ruin a restaurant with a review. In this case it’s very important to either just apologise, or to stay calm and tell your side of the story, as objectively as possible.

Forgetting to Google your restaurant. Google your restaurant every once in a while, to see what your online status is. That way, you’ll know what people think of you!

* Source: https://www.steritech.com/knowledge-center/best-practices/drivers-behind-restaurants-choices/

Test your knowledge!
The following quotes each describe one of the generations (Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z) and their attitude towards foodservice. Do you know which quote belongs to which generation?

  1. “Of all generations, I spend the biggest part of my income on dining out.”
  2. “Not having to carry groceries home is a big driver for ordering groceries online.”
  3. “In general, I’d rather pick a dish I know with a creative take on it than a more adventurous option.”
  4. “If my favourite restaurant offered meal kits, I’d get a subscription.”

Answer: 1. Gen Z, 2. Boomers, 3. Gen X, 4. Millennials

Sources: https://gfs.com/en-us/ideas/gen-x-food-preferences/ and FSIN foodshopper monitor 2022

We hope that these consumer insights give you the support you need to perfectly align your business with your guests’ needs. Now all you need is great food to pair with your great service to reach the highest quality possible. If you’ve got that covered, brace yourself for an avalanche of rave reviews!