Gen Z most easily frustrated as customers return to pubs and bars

With the hospitality sector finally reopen, new research has identified the top frustrations for customers when visiting a pub or restaurant, with Generation Z being the most easily irritated.

Over half of Gen Z-ers (defined here as those aged between 18 and 24 years) get frustrated when they are forced to wait for the server’s attention when ready to pay. A similar proportion get stressed when they’re not able to split the bill easily at the end of a meal (55%). In comparison, over 55-year-olds are much more relaxed.

A collaboration between KAM Media and Zonal, our new research confirms that the hospitality decision-making process is increasingly tech-driven – which can alleviate some of this customer stress and frustration.

Technology can ease the stress

Mobile ordering and payment, for example, is now a more important factor when choosing a venue for a significant 45% of people. What at first was a necessity for helping to implement social distancing is now a legitimate tool for venues to streamline the ordering and payment process, easing potential customer stress.

“Having accepted the need for technology over the past 12 months, the majority of consumers now have a greater understanding of how it improves their experience and removes typical frustrations. But operators must take a balanced approach that mixes the benefits of tech with traditional hospitality and service, in order to keep customers happy and to drive loyalty.” Alison Vasey, Group Product Director at Zonal

There are ‘stress points’ throughout the customer journey

The research, called Plan to Plate, follows customers along every touchpoint when eating or drinking out, from the decision on where to go and booking a table, to ordering and paying and then leaving a review. It found that the extra time spent at home during lockdowns has given customers time to reflect on what frustrates them most about going out versus staying in.

“We’ve been enjoying the ‘hassle-free’ experience of entertaining at home over the last 12 months and it has given customers time to reflect on what frustrates them most about going out versus staying in. Generation Z are used to an ‘on-demand’ world; they get news in real time, products are bought and delivered same day or quicker, they can access information and content simply by asking Alexa. Any unnecessary time spent waiting or any unexplained friction in a customer experience is simply unacceptable to many.” Blake Gladman, Research & Strategy Director at KAM Media

Frustration can begin with the booking process

It starts as soon as the decision has been made to go out and socialise. One of the biggest areas of frustration for Gen Z is actually researching venues and finding somewhere new to go – six in 10 people said this caused them stress when deciding whether to go out, compared with only 13% of over 55-year-olds.

Gen Z are much more likely to be seeking out new venues that they haven’t visited before and it’s no surprise that social media plays a huge role in their search; 42% turn straight to Instagram, 20% to Facebook and 17% to Twitter. They are much less likely to simply ask for recommendations from friends and family, which is the go-to for over 55-year-olds.

The biggest frustrations for Generation Z

While they’re in a venue, the biggest cause of stress for Gen Z is waiting to get a server’s attention while trying to pay – mentioned by 56%. More than half get frustrated when they’re not able to easily split the bill.

Top 5 frustrations for Generation Z:

  1. Trying to find somewhere new to go
  2. Trying to get staff attention when waiting to pay
  3. Being forced to have to book a table
  4. Being told a certain dish has run out
  5. Not being able to easily split the bill

You can download the full research – From Plan to Pate – here.