Millenials& Generation Z

Modernized restaurant management strategies and trends on millennial and generation Z’s consumption patterns


As we head into the age of Data Technology and Globalization, food and beverage will continue to bridge gaps between cultures and generations alike. What restaurants must do is to understand the traits and consumption patterns of Millennials and Generation Z and figure out how to constantly adapt to the growingly more diverse and noisy electronic world. Studies have shown that the three major deciding factors for young generation consumptions are: health and nutrition, social media, and technological involvement. Each intertwined with each other offering a great degree of connectivity amongst the crowd. The health-conscious cultural acceptance drives deep desires for Millenials to seek out ways to adapt into the multi-colored cultural expectations both physically and psychologically. The power of social media has granted them a pathway to massive amount of information overload. With technological advancements involving by the day, it has combined all three key factors together onto now a very simplified platform making trend predictions relatively less challenging comparing to before. Business will succeed and fail based strictly on these concepts.



Cloud-based, Millennials, Generation Z, nutrition, health, social media, cultural, globalization


World renowned motivational speaker Anthony Robbins says that change is automatic but progress is not. This literature review is targeting the consumption patterns of millennial and generation Z populations, and how companies are revamping their operating strategies to stay parallel with current industry trends.

The research perimeters are defined in three main focus areas:

  1. Health conscious trend and its effects on menu design and execution.
  2. Uprising of social media and its effects on dining preferences.
  3. Technological advancements and effects on the consumption behaviors.

Along with every new medical publishing on the importance of healthier life-styles, a new form of diet seems to appear magically targeting the younger generation. Therefore healthy eating continues to grow as one of the dominant driving forces behind today’s consumption behaviors especially with the tech savvy millennial and Generation Z.

Eating and drinking is no longer just aromatic and tasteful, visual representation is now the forefront of the newly relabeled form of enjoyment. Social Media plays an enormous role on the globalization of culinary arts; connecting skyscraper ovens with rural village stoves. Food culture that once belongs to specific cultures now belongs to all earth inhabitants through Instagram, facebook, twitter, snapchat and more.

While the majority of social media powers are placed in the hands of its beloved consumers, newly developed technologies are enhancing performances across the board in all food service establishments. Just exactly how it all works together?

Health conscious trends and its effects on menu design and execution

With biological science being such a strong driving force for health and food consumption; we can surely say that it has transformed how the food and beverage industry operates. Not only on culinary and mixology creativity but more importantly, how the business runs as a collective trend.

Let us take a closer look at two major demographics that will be the deciding factors for yet another hospitality revolution with support of rapid technological advancements and our swift entry into world of cloud-based data technology. Millennials – born between 1982 and 2000.

U.S Census Bureau Data, 2015

Focus Group Age Group Characteristics Est. Population  Est. U.S Population%
Generation Z 2000 – Present Social MediaTech-savvyInsecureIndependenceOpen-mindedDetermined 69.5 million 21%
Millennials 1982 – 2000 EntitlementNarcissistIndividualisticWealth FocusedTech-SavvySelf-driven 83.1 million 25.6%
Generation X 1970-1982 DysfunctionalRebelliousForgottenMistreated N/A N/A
Baby-Boomers 1946 – 1964 Experimental IndividualisticFree-spiritedPessimisticCynicalMemories 75.4 million 23%


With Millennials and Generation Z’s key characteristics on individuality and technology, restaurants are beginning to adapt to their social preference on: rusticity, modern, character, cleanliness and more (Alonso & O’Neill, 2010). The old saying on “people eat with their eyes” is truly being continuously gloried in modern dining. In combination with physical service landscape, creativity, nutrition content, service, and presentation are now more bundled than ever.

As mentioned previously that with today’s rapid advancement on technology, research speed has reached an all time high and the amount of publication on health indicators are vastly available the tech-savvy millennials and generation Z. The health conscious generation is becoming more and more alert on nutrition content on dining options across all sectors of the food and beverage business. State governing bodies are recognizing the need for adjustment as well from a law-making perspective passing regulations by statute on restaurant nutrition labeling. Millennial and Generation Z consumption patterns are greatly impacted by this very phenomenon and researchers and restaunteurs are teaming up to obtain more concrete information on this subject matter. Notably the “traffic-light system” and “graphic summary” technique used in combination of modern tablet and iPad menus have produced much results to support such claims (Yapes, 2015).

Visual presentation has been a driving factor behind many renowned dishes with long lasting presence in the culinary world. Millennials and Generation Z have taken the understanding of “presentation” to a new level with the help of modern technology. Menu designs are now more refined than ever and with popularities on specialty menus on the raise especially with “small plate” concepts such as Tapas and Chef’s Table (Harrington, Ottenbacher, Staggs & Powell, 2010). Concepts such as farm-to-table, local sourced, and nutrition retention are now solid building blocks on menu design and presentation as visual representation dominates millennial and generation Z consumption behaviors.

The use of social media and its effects on dining preferences

Millennials and Generation Z in particular are characterized on the iGen, where social sense of belonging ranks relatively high on the social preferences (Forbes, 2015). The very entitled and opinionated generation has taken their conquest online and companies such as FourSquare and Yelp has successfully capitalized on this paradigm shift. Marketing efforts from restaurant management has been transformed where revenue management teams are refocusing their efforts on problem solutions and guest retentions rather than market shares because of social media and technological review services.

Restaurants used to focus heavily on first impressions and guest services especially on first timers. Revolutionary cloud-based access software has rendered these focuses obsolete where potential customers are viewing establishments from the comfort of their own home without setting foot inside the restaurant. Because of this very phenomenon, restaurants are facing tremendous pressure on servicescape, plate presentation and dining environment, where they will not only have to focus on taste, but opportunities to utilize their existing guests as part of their marketing efforts to gain additional market share. The more “shares” and positive reviews diners grant them the better it is for the restaurants. Modern guest service experiences are much more complex due to new and crucial factors (Harrinton, Ottenbacher, Staggs & Powell, 2010).

Social Media culture has grown tremendously close to likes of the fashion industry over the past decade as the need for acceptance in terms of physical appearance and health is swiftly on the raise. Because of this shift of “cultural acceptance need”, restaurants are now struggling to find the fine line between healthy and delicious. Generally speaking, the result is that consumers not only associate fatty, high sodium, and high sugar foods as unhealthy, but they also associate characteristics such as bland, boring, bitter and more dissatisfying tastes with healthy foods (Lessa, Zulueta, Esteve & Frigola, 2015) Thus making the middle ground of healthy, delicious, yet satisfying a gray area that cannot be easily achieved. A major side effect of the entire social media shift is the distorted ideology of perfection. With image enhancers, filters, PhotoShop and more software designed to elevate products visually; it creates guest expectations at times beyond the reality of the products itself and it is especially true for the restaurant industry where the gap between consumer expectations and product delivery widens very quick due the unrealistic presentation of Social Media users and modernized marketing companies. (Alonso & O’Neill, 2010).

Technological advancements and its effects on consumption behavior

As mentioned previously, tablets and iPad usage is on the raise for newer restaurant development and social media marketing has replaced the traditional marketing efforts with better results but also acting as a double-edged blade. Ideologies of the health trend gave restaurantuers and chef all around a foundation to build their offerings upon.

One of the biggest effects on this very technological advancement is the way menus are displayed and how menu taking as involved. Menu boards with pictures and now very popularized and in fact, Rotational picture menus displayed on high definition televisions are widely accepted as the basis of newer restaurant concepts. Service speed has increased tremendously for most QSR concepts because of the switch from traditional wordy menu boards and efficient Point-of-Sale system upgrades (Parsa, Jean-Pierre, Van der Rest, Smith, A. Parsa & Buijisic, 2015).

Some restaurants have adapted the concept of guest involvement which is a key Millennial and Generation Z characteristic. Younger generation is the “why generation”; where they enjoy being involved on projects and is entitled to explanations everywhere to fulfill their insecurities on truthfulness therefore food service establishments are allowing the younger crowd to engage in their own selections by offering Tablet ordering processes. (Yepes, 2015). The tech-savvy generation enjoy swiping through tablet based menus to selected based on their visual preference, nutrition content and popularity.

An advantage for restaurants with more advanced technological SOPs is that this powerful shift provides restaurants even more power to gather data and compute adjustments due to the fact that with social media and tablet ordering systems, it allows consumers to voice their opinions on why a particular establishment is succeeding or failing. Information updates are almost instantly and it offers a reduction in labor usages, a reduction in margin for errors and an increase is overall service speed (Yepes, 2015).

One of the biggest connections between restaurants and their Millennial and Generation Z customers is the power of cloud-based sharing either through their own POS database, guest profile database, or social media. A major influential deciding factor on dining out for Millennials is the rating system popularized by companies such as Yelp. The sense of exploration is now strictly based upon popularity but this overall technological advancement has granted the world its ability to connect different cultures. It is doing so not only on the local scale, but national and even globally as we speak.


Millennials and Generation Z will slowly revolutionize cultural immersions through technology and especially through food and beverage. The food and beverage industry will transition into an era of creativity based on health, nutrition and visual presentation. Historically, cooks and servers are considered the lower tiers class and it has only been popularized and glorified in the recent decades and technology allowed the major platform for Chefs and industry professionals alike to rise to occasions and shine.

The consumption patterns are being transformed with accessibility upgrade, nutritional content transparency and artistic makeovers. Restaurants are adapting closely to this paradigm shift and they understand that in orders to ensure continuous success; they must harvest the power of social media and newer gadgets. They understand that they must tap into the power of cultural fusion and study how the younger millennials and generation Z functions as a demographics group that social belonging, being spontaneous, being health driven, and being unique are the keys to future celebration. The era of “classic dishes, new presentations” has arrived and restaunteurs and chefs alike must be able to handle such a vastly noise polluted generation and they must figure out how to attract both locals and tourists alike should they want to continue to build their success and wealth. Globalization is just around the corner.

J. Z. 


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