Coffee is an ever-important driver of sales, and the so-termed Gen Z demographic is driving straight to their local establishments in search of coffee. Gen Z demands the best—high digital touchpoints, impeccable taste, chic aesthetic, sustainability, and a sense of giving back to the community. Today’s caffeinated beverages provide high variety in contrast to past generations’ hot-only coffees in nonrecyclable cups.
“Younger demographics help to drive and evolve trends in the larger food and beverage industry,” says Amy Brown, marketing manager of commercial foodservice at SEB Professional. “The National Coffee Association just released its 2022 Fall National Coffee Data Trends report, which shows a record number of young adults (ages 18–24) are drinking coffee, and 51 percent reported drinking coffee in the past day. This is the highest number since this report began tracking consumption trends by age, and it follows an upward trend in younger demographics coffee consumption since the start of the pandemic.”
[float_image image=”https://www.qsrmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/cowboychickenbrisket.jpg” width=”47″ link=”” caption=”” alt=”Cowboy Chicken's Brisket Plate” align=”right” /]
“According to Bloomberg, Gen Z’s spending power reached $360 billion in disposable income in 2021—double the estimate from three years prior,” Brown says.
Additionally, a successful coffee program that’s targeted to this first generation never to have lived without the Internet has to be backed by technology and social media engagement. “When automation is a factor in your coffee program, these generations are quick adopters,” Brown says. “A self-serve, fresh coffee program with touchscreen equipment is a breeze for these consumers who are on-the-go and oftentimes looking for where to grab a high-quality coffee quickly.”
Another Gen Z tip: Showcase a well-rounded, choice-filled menu. According to the National Coffee Association, millennials and Gen Z are driving the specialty coffee category in particular, including espresso-based beverages, non-espresso-based beverages, specialty traditional coffee, and ready-to-drink beverages, and a third of all Americans enjoy flavor in their coffee.
“It’s also important to make sure these consumers are educated about the type of bean and any causes or sustainability initiatives your coffee may support,” Brown says. “Additionally, these age groups drive espresso-based beverage consumption, so include lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, and more on your menus, and make sure you have some options in creamers and syrups. The most popular being vanilla, caramel, mocha, hazelnut—and of course for LTOs, pumpkin spice and peppermint.”
SEB Professional, headquartered in Tustin, California, is a global leader in professional coffee solutions, helping quick-service restaurants create coffee programs with their top-performing brands WMF, Schaerer, and Curtis. From easy-to-use touchscreen menus, to Autoclean technology that automates the cleaning process, SEB Professional checks off all the boxes when it comes to providing customers innovation, service, ambiance, and reducing waste to attract a whole new generation whose buying power far surpasses buying power of prior generations.
“It takes more than just choosing coffee beans and putting equipment on your counter to run a successful coffee program,” Brown says. “It takes a partner who understands what today’s consumers are looking for. At SEB Professional, our top priority is being a partner with our operators.”
To learn more about attracting Gen Z diners with coffee and SEB’s brands, visit www.schaererusa.com.
By Jocelyn Winn