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Social Media for Restaurants: How to Cater to the Next Generation of Diners

The restaurant industry is once again undergoing a generational shift, and this time, Gen Z is at the forefront. With spending power rivalling Millennials, these young adults are shaping the future of dining through their unique preferences and values.

taking a picture of a food for social media purposes

The Power of Social Media and Playful Eats

Restaurants that understand the power of social media and cater to Gen Z's desire for shareable experiences are reaping the rewards. Playful, visually-appealing dishes designed for TikTok and Instagram are becoming a hot trend. Think over-the-top milkshakes, creatively arranged snack plates perfect for group dining, and even meme-inspired specials. These eye-catching creations not only satisfy taste buds but also generate viral buzz, attracting new customers and boosting brand recognition.

Restaurants Serving Up Social Media Gold:

  • Black Star Pastry (Sydney & Melbourne): Home to the now-iconic Strawberry Watermelon Cake, Black Star Pastry's vibrant creations and artistic plating consistently go viral. Their Instagram (@blackstarpastry) is a testament to their social media savvy, showcasing not only the food but also the bakery's story and the team behind it.

  • Gelato Messina (Sydney & Melbourne): Known for their outrageous and often hilarious flavours (think "Soylent Green" or "Kinder Surprise"), Gelato Messina (@gelatomessina) is a social media darling. Their limited-edition creations and eye-catching aesthetic keep fans coming back for more, both in-store and online.

Sustainability on the Menu

However, Gen Z isn't just about aesthetics. This generation is deeply concerned about climate change and seeks out restaurants that prioritise sustainability. Zero-waste cooking practices, transparent carbon labelling, and responsible sourcing of ingredients are no longer just buzzwords, but essential factors influencing their dining choices. Restaurants that demonstrate a commitment to environmental responsibility will be more likely to earn the loyalty of these value-driven young diners.

Listening and Understanding

The key to successfully catering to Gen Z lies in truly understanding their motivations. Social listening – monitoring online conversations – can provide valuable insights into their passions and preferences. Restaurants that go beyond superficial trends and connect with Gen Z on a deeper level, offering authentic experiences alongside innovative menu options, will stand out from the crowd. By speaking their language, literally through menu descriptions and figuratively through shared values, restaurants can position themselves as the go-to spots for this influential generation.

The Future of Dining

As Gen Z's influence continues to grow, the restaurant industry can expect to see further evolution. We can anticipate an even greater focus on:

  • Social dining experiences: Communal tables, shareable plates, and interactive dining concepts will cater to Gen Z's desire for connection and social interaction.

  • Dietary diversity: Plant-based options, globally-inspired cuisines, and a focus on dietary needs will reflect Gen Z's openness to new flavours and food experiences.

  • Tech-enabled dining: Seamless online ordering, contactless payments, and loyalty programs designed for mobile engagement will become the norm.

Understanding and catering to Gen Z's preferences isn't just a trend, it's a necessity for restaurants aiming to thrive in the years to come. By prioritising innovation, sustainability, and authentic connection, restaurants can build lasting relationships with this generation and ensure their place at the forefront of the ever-evolving dining scene.


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