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Smells Like Teen Spirit: 7 Tips for Getting Generation Z Customers Into Your Pizzeria

Offering online ordering is a must, but some creative thinking can also help you turn your pizza shop into a favorite hangout for the younger crowd.


The kids are still alright, but they’re super-picky and, at the same time, price-conscious when it comes to choosing a restaurant.

According to research firm Technomic, 58% of Generation Z consumers (those born in 1996 or later) like to dine out, and they’re usually looking for something they can’t get at home. They spend more money on dining out than on clothing or music, with 24% of their budgets going toward food, according to research by Piper Jaffray.

So how do you get that smell of teen spirit wafting through your own pizzeria? Here are seven tips:

Offer online ordering. By now, this should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway because we still see too many pizzerias that are sticking with telephone orders only. “Generation Z has never walked into a restaurant without a phone,” Jason Dorsey, founder of the Center for Generational Kinetics, told AZCentral.com earlier this year. They want to order and pay using their smartphones, and if you don’t offer that option, Domino’s, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut will be perfectly happy to take away your share of the local market.

Millennials are the largest single demographic in history, and they love pizza. Click here for expert tips on marketing to millennials here.

Create a team of teen ambassadors. Recruit members of Generation Z to represent your brand to their fellow teens, says Linda “The Marketing Maven” Duke of Duke Marketing. These don’t have to be fulltime paid positions—you can offer them free meals in exchange for their help in spreading your message. Make sure to seek marketing ideas from these young people about which social media channels to use in your campaign. Get them to take over your Snapchat or Instagram accounts, for example, and use them to develop Instagram Stories videos. It’s imperative to stay on top of the latest media tools being used by Generation Z, Duke notes. “The teenage world [is] filled with minute-to-minute trends and high-speed technology.”

Create special events for teens. Here’s another recommendation from the Marketing Maven: Use your local schools’ calendars to find out when major social events are taking place this year—whether it’s the prom, a fall dance, Homecoming, etc.—and build promotions to help celebrate them.

Offer Eat-and-Study Sessions. Partner with local tutoring companies and individual tutors to provide eat-and-study sessions in your pizzeria and create specials just for them and their students.

Build up your social media presence. According to a 2015 Technomic report titled, “Gen Z: Decoding the Behaviors of the Next Generation,” teens pay more attention to short, visual and conversational messages. As the National Restaurant Association explained last year, every week Gen Zers most frequently check Youtube (12.2 times), followed by Instagram (7.7 times), Snapchat (6.9 times) and Facebook (6.7 times). Your website should offer ways for visitors to connect with you on every social media channel that you use

Make engagement a two-way street. According to the NRA, Generation Z “yearns for two-way engagement, especially when it comes to mobile communication. Respond to the comments your restaurant receives on social media. By answering questions, taking feedback and offering ideas, you can develop a dialogue and gain their interest.”

Emphasize good works. Like millennials, Gen Zers prefer to do business with brands that give back to the community. “Gen Z strives to change the world for the better,” the NRA says. “Create campaigns and menus around the social causes and … events you support or put on for your local community.”


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