Nescafé looks at Gen Z and the pub

Generation Z - those between 18 and 35 years-old - doesn’t drink as much alcohol as Generation X (those aged 37 to 53) and previous generations but they’re still visiting pubs, states Molly Davis of the British Institute of Innkeepers in a Forward to Nescafé’s new report, the Nescafé Azera Intro-Generation Report.



“If pubs ignore the fact that Gen Z are looking for something different from pubs, then they will quite simply go elsewhere,” she states, “Whether it’s a more exciting non-alcoholic drinks menu or more interactive experiences such as a quiz or theme night, there is huge potential. It is time for the pub to step up as an alternative option at any time of day, especially for customers who aren’t looking for alcohol.”


Tapping into the next generation

The report points out that the number of pubs and bars in the UK is on the decline having fallen from 52,500 in 2001 to around 39,000 in 2018.

Beer sales are falling too, from 34.5 million barrels in 2000 to 26.9 million in 2017.

But pub chain JD Wethersoon reported a sales growth in coffee of over 25%.

“Coffee cocktails are proving especially popular,” added the report.


Variety behind the bar

Nescafé Azera’s research shows an overwhelming majority of Gen Zers (78%) think pubs need to make themselves more inviting to customers who don’t drink alcohol.

“When asked what they would most like to see on a pubs’ drinks menu a third said seasonal and interesting non-alcoholic drinks, while one in five said iced or speciality coffee.

“While pubs are a first choice for socialising with friends, this is not the case when alcohol isn’t going to be consumed. When asked about choice of location if they knew they, or the majority of their party, wouldn’t be drinking alcohol 55% said they would not choose a pub.”

The trend to drink less alcohol among Generation Z is not likely to change, warns online influencer Katie Pix, which means pubs need to smarten up their act if they are to avoid becoming a second choice when it comes to socialising.



The way a pub is decorated, too, provides the first impression to new visitors with the research showing Generation Z to be more fussy when it comes to pub décor.

“When asked if the interior of a pub would influence their decision to visit, 84% said yes, compared to 65% of Generation X,” states the report.


Gen Z and the pub

The survey shows that three-quarters (77%) of Gen Z visit their pub more than once a month, compared to 55% of Gen X.

“Worryingly, however, both generations agree that pubs aren’t keeping up with the times. More than a third of participants from both groups agree that pubs are becoming outdated,” the report states, “Gen X felt this stronger at 36%, compared to Gen Z at 33%.”

Joy Zarine, a marketing and hospitality experience consultant, believes that the most important trend for today’s pubs to know about is the fact that Gen Z drinks less alcohol and often drinks it less often. The UK’s Office of National Statistics (from 2017) show that young people aged 16 to 24 are less likely to drink alcohol than any other age group.



Tech savvy

According to the report, “The tech offering doesn’t stop with internet access.

“The mobile wallet is also growing in popularity and 42% of Gen Z would like to see mobile ordering and payment apps utilised in pubs, by-passing the long wait at the bar”.

Joy Zarine believes that the tech savvy pub is fast becoming a prerequisite.

“From high speed Wi-Fi and multiple mobile charging points to interactive menus and ordering tablets, Generation Z has not only embraced technology but expects it to be available as standard,” she states, “Ordering apps and real time table reservations attract a generation who crave convenience. Gen Z guests want fast, efficient service, smart website and fuss-free social media connection. Creating a loyalty app for your pub could be a simple way of connecting with your audience and earning their dedication.”

She also recommends embracing social media: “You could release exclusive invites to special events such as menu tastings or special offers exclusively for your group members and subscribers. Community websites like Meetup.com can empower pubs to connect with groups who are passionate about a particular topic such as chess, photography or even entrepreneurship”.


When tech meets coffee

The Nescafé report also references a Technomic report indicating that iced coffee is Gen Z’s most frequently-purchased beverage.

“Adding to this phenomenon is the popularity of nitro cold coffee, a cold-brew coffee infused with nitrogen and available on draught or from a can.”


Pub club

Nescafé Azera’s research suggests that Generation Z want to spend more time at their local, doing more things.

“An astonishing majority (85%) of Gen Zers would like their pub to offer more than just a drinking experience,” states the report, “Some 45% want good food while 40% would like added social and leisure experiences.”

What activities are most popular?

“The majority (56%) of Generation Z say they would be more likely to visit a pub if it offered live music and at 52%, quizzes were second choice.”

According to Joy Zarine, experience is everything.

“Whether it’s a movie screening, comedy night of even a coffee-tasting, experiences are what motivates,” she states and suggests thinking outside the box when it comes to entertainment.

“There’s no reason why pubs of the future can’t be the go-to place for sell-out popup events. Think of your pub as being an experience creator and a memory-making business rather than only somewhere to get a pint of lager and a packet of peanuts.”



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