Foodservice

Technology Meets Younger Generation’s Love for Customizability and Quality

Four ways to meet consumers' needs

The industry’s curiosity surrounding what millennials want and how they want it continues to surge. And as answers to these questions emerge, new questions arise for the subsequent generation.

College students eating pizza

Gen Z’s habits and needs are taking shape as they age into their spending power. Both generations are large and their opinions are nuanced but strong. Even though their needs are varied, both generations share a desire for customizable food that’s prepared when they order.

According to SmartBrief, “Millennials love customizing, and customize everything from apparel to music to news feeds.” Gen Z is similarly interested in food customization.

The secret to meeting these generations’ needs is to create opportunities for customization within your fresh-prepared foodservice program and to use equipment that can keep up with generations demanding instant gratification.

  1. Toppings: Build your foodservice program around foods that are inherently customizable. A customer craving pizza, sandwiches, paninis, quesadillas or flatbreads will expect to be in control of their own toppings before they walk in the door. And because more than 50% of millennials prefer mash-ups and combinations of different flavors, expect them to switch up their customization with every visit. Meet their expectations by offering an array of freshly made meat and protein toppings as well as on-trend sauces such as sriracha, chimichurri or chipotle mayonnaise.
  2. Bowls: Younger generations love bowls because they are customizable and protein-packed. Bowls featuring made-to-order proteins and roasted vegetables feed their desire for food that’s fresh, fast and tailored to their needs.
  3. Combos: Creating the opportunity for customers to mix and match allows them to customize their healthy-to-indulgent ratio. Gen Z “[likes] indulgent foods such as frozen carbonated beverages, doughnuts and pizza, but they also want healthy options such as cereal, fruit and yogurt,” according to CSP Daily News. Made-to-order dishes such as nachos give customers the option to balance the healthy with the indulgent. They can also opt in for trendy ingredients such as habanero or ghost peppers, which both grew in popularity on convenience store menus by 14% last year, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor data.
  4. Speed: Young generations know what they want and they want it now. Quick service is an attractive quality to the generation of instant gratification. But speed can be tricky to master when 57% of Gen Zers are also expecting high-quality food, according to CSP Daily News. Investing in the right kind of cooking equipment, like a ventless, hoodless Ovention Matchbox Oven, that promises both speed and fresh-made quality, can meet these two often-competing needs.

A foodservice program that meets the customizability needs of its customers isn’t possible without equipment that can cook high-quality food quickly.

Brian Donoghue, director of food service for Weigel Stores Inc., does just this using an Ovention Matchbox 1718 Oven. He said that using this oven “is a fresher way of preparing food, and it’s a couple-minute transaction.”

Weigel’s open kitchen adds to the customer’s involved food customization experience because they can “see the oven… It’s got a cool, hip, ‘wow-factor’ to it,” Donoghue said.

Ovention’s Precision Impingement technology is intended to cut cook times down from 15 minutes to just 2 1/2 minutes for a freshly baked pizza with customer-selected toppings. This technology is primed to satisfy hungry millennials and Gen Zers with fresh food made fast, the company said.

This post is sponsored by Ovention

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