Learning Your ABZs

The youngest group of consumers is going to change the world. Are you ready for them?

Samantha Oller, Senior Editor/Fuels, CSP

Mitch Morrison, Vice President of Retailer Relations

Erik J. Martin, CSP Correspondent

Illustrations by Nick Shepherd

Gen Z: The Supersized Millennial

How kids these days are using your stores

If you thought millennials were techno-maniacs, stand back. Gen Z knows no other way than flying their fingers across touch screens to dispatch communications.

These teenagers and nascent 20-somethings don’t remember a nanosecond without the Internet. Whereas millennials can recall cellphones, grainy digital cameras and life without Twitter, the next generation is all about the smartphone.

Besides a required focus on technology, what does the emergence of Gen Z mean for you?

Ethnic flavorings: As the most ethnically diverse population in modern times, Gen Z will crave more creativity and fusions in foodservice, more spices and surprises. Pizza and chicken will still be in play, but plan for more unusual toppings. It’s OK to take risks with this group.

Time for Z: Because most are still in school, Gen Z will not be a big part of your breakfast rush, as opposed to millennials. But the Zers love c-stores in the afternoon, especially after school, for a snack or drink.

Put the coffee away: These kids are not so hot on coffee--at least not yet. They do love your made-fresh cold and hot drinks, though. Think frozen beverages, milkshakes and hot cocoa.

Breakfast club: Yes, we just told you not to worry much about the Z’s for breakfast. Well, that’s not totally accurate. Though many get their breakfast at home or in school, the older Gen Zers, say those 20 to 22, are going to c-stores for breakfast. Compared to their older millennial sibs, these kids favor cereal, fruit and yogurt, as well as an indulgent doughnut or baked good.

Next: Technology Expectations