For the newest generation that is on the rise, tech, great value, and food safety need to be a given—not a luxury.

Gen Z is the generation after millennials, those born after the year 1995 and are slowly rising with 80 million members currently in their teens.

“These folks are not just Millennial 2.0,” said Abhijeet Jadhav, senior manager of marketing strategy for Georgia-Pacific Professional, “Gen Z will have a huge impact on the global markets and the foodservice industry.”

The biggest opportunity with Gen Z is that they crave a story, one that is honest and transparent. Brands who are completely open with their process from farm to table have seen great success. College campuses are so far ahead of the curve on today’s restaurants, it’s not even close to comparing. They have learned to cater properly to their students needs swiftly and ultimately leading to more profits and higher satisfaction levels amongst students.

Tech also plays a huge role. Digital nativism is completely unique to Gen Z who have grown up completely ingrained in social media and all things tech. They show a preference to being able to order on their phones or online.

“This generation is really about the experience,” Adam Millman, senior director of Yale University Dining in New Haven, Conn said. “They are willing to wait two hours to go to a place that has the technology behind it, versus the brand they are comfortable with.”

Gen Z hasn’t entered a restaurant without their phones in their pockets. Curating a mobile ordering strategy isn’t a nicety, rather, it will be a requirement. As they begin to enter the workforce and become more frequent consumers, the generation will expect to have the immediacy they are used to when it comes to restaurants.

While Millennials may have grown up snacking on chicken nuggets, Gen Z children and young teens are opting for healthier options declares a study from The Center for Generational Kinetics.

Gen Z spends more on food than on any other category, including clothing, electronics, or concerts. “Gen Z is already starting to drive a lot of trends,” said Jason Dorsey. “It hasn’t turned the dining industry on its head yet, but over the next five years, it will.”

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