Eat Out to Help Out: are restaurants back on the menu for Gen Z?

So far during COVID-19, restaurants have faced marketing challenges like no other sector. Many have pivoted to delivery and takeaway-only models or introduced innovative “cook-at-home” kits – but diners can now swap takeaways on the sofa for real-life, socially distanced restaurant experiences. Will Gen Z be among those embracing the new Eat Out to Help Out scheme?

Gen Z is most likely to use Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

If you’re a restaurant brand gearing your marketing strategy towards post-lockdown diners, it might help to know who to expect. YouGov’s latest poll shows that 18- to 24-year-olds are significantly more likely than other age groups to use the government’s new Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. 45% said that they definitely or probably would use the scheme, compared to 34% of 25- to 49-year-olds and 33% of over 50s. 

It’s also worth noting that almost a quarter (24%) of Gen Z don’t yet know if they will use the scheme. Incorporating it into your marketing plan, as well as making it clear that you are implementing COVID-safe measures, is a great way to clear up any health or money-related concerns.

Are students more likely to want to dine al fresco this summer?

Eating out: student habits over the summer 

Most students (present or future) will only head to uni in autumn, so their current social habits will centre around their family and friends in their hometowns. 

The good news is that for many, meals out are back on the table. Research shows that one-third of British consumers intend to spend more on dining out than they did before lockdown. Just under half expect their restaurant spending habits will soon be back to pre-COVID levels. This food FOMO extends to Gen Z, too – in the height of lockdown, we asked them what they were most looking forward to in a post-quarantine world, and 67% said eating out – second only to seeing friends and family.

Getting students through the door

Students may not be at university at the moment, but you can still create that brand recognition to draw them back in when they do arrive. Students are often drawn to stackable discounts – you could, for example, boost the Eat Out to Help Out discount by stacking it with an exclusive student discount. Gen Z also like to plan ahead – a quarter of new students are already looking for places to eat out before they’ve even arrived at uni. Kickstarting a proactive marketing plan over the summer months would place your brand firmly in their sights.

Gen Z are erring on the side of caution when it comes to eating out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gen Z are a cautious bunch – but they’re also resilient. With 86% of students who planned to go to uni this year still intending to do so, there’s a clear desire among young people to get back to normal. Traditional Freshers parties and events are off the table. But as a restaurant brand, you can tap into Freshers with a safe, affordable experience – and secure student loyalty for years to come.

It’s easy to find out what makes young people tick today – but the picture is constantly evolving. Check-in with Gen Z every week – sign up to Student Beans Insights for regular updates on student trends, as they happen.