Seven things pubs can do to attract elusive Generation Z

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

Generation Z: How to get the latest generation into pubs
Generation Z: How to get the latest generation into pubs

Related tags Pubs Generation y

The latest challenge for pub owners is attracting Generation Z, people aged 18 to 24, who are addicted to technology and their phones.

It may be a challenge to attract them en-mass as a third of this group are teetotal and believe pubs are full of “pervy old men”, according to an expert on the age group. 

Speaking at the MCA’s Managed Pub Conference on 20 June, Chloe Combi author of book Generation Z: Their Voices, Their Lives​, said the UK is currently facing the “greatest social and economic division we've seen in four decades”.

Combi said that as well as being addicted to their phones and drinking less than previous generations, only 5% of them smoke, they are financially cautious with “very little income”, and find paying for entertainment “strange”. They very rarely go out to drink, and would prefer to “Netflix and chill” or get a “cheeky Nandos”, she added.

However, socialising face to face is a human trait, so here are seven ways to entice Generation Z into pubs and keep them coming back.

Strong social-media presence

Combi describes this as “the most crucial” element and states that it needs to be more than just Facebook as this platform is no longer used by the age group. “You need Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram,” she said.

"I speak to CEOs and they say ‘I don't have time’. My answer to that is most pubs have fairly young bar staff, put them in charge of it. Have a social media person, [let them] create a Snapchat story of a Saturday night, it's amazing marketing.”

Combi said that if pubs don't have a strong social-media presence they have no marketing or advertising that will attract anyone under the age of 23.

‘Instagramable’ aesthetics.

Combi said pubs are no longer just competing with pubs in London and Liverpool, but are competing globally.

“Because of apps such as Instagram, kids know what the best pubs look like in Tokyo and New York,” she said. “Have Instagramable drinks and toilets. Not only do you attract a younger audience, but that's free marketing. They will splash you over their pages.”

Unusual drinks

Generation Z are more interested in quirky drinks such as craft beers, wine from “weird” places, and healthy cocktails. “You are dealing with a very global generation,” Combi said. “These are the kinds of drinks they would have.”

Picture-worthy food

Combi urged pubs to “relish” food that helps people socialise, said Combi, and get creative.

Try out barbecues, street food, anything that promotes a “global look” and gives consumers the opportunity to share what they are eating on social media.


Generation Z appreciate old school hobbies. They like sewing, knitting, and board games that make them feel nostalgic for the past, said Combi.

“When they go to places they want to be entertained. Put on things like quiz nights, theme nights, film screenings,” she said.

Love the non-drinkers

Embracing non-drinkers is essential, said Combi, and “not just with a pint of coke".

"I think that this is something the industry will have to embrace,” she said. “Offer coffees, milkshakes, beautiful mocktails. You will have to learn to love the non-drinkers.”

Friends over couples 

Unlike Millennials who are couple focused, Generation Z are focused on friends, said Combi.

“It's not romantic anymore, operators should embrace not just two for one promotions, but ‘come in as a group of friends’ deals,” she said.

However, Generation Z love the dating app Tinder, continued Combi, and suggested pubs should embrace the “Tinder date”, and suggested having a “Tinder hour” instead of a happy hour.

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