March 22, 2015 |

A Conversation with Jason Dorsey, the Gen Y Guy

By Pizza Today

Jason Dorsey 2013Jason Dorsey talks Gen Y (Millennials)

The Center for Generational Kinetics
Austin, Texas

The center’s Chief Strategy Officer Jason Dorsey is known as the “Gen Y Guy.”  He brings his key insights for selling to Millennials and managing Gen Y employees to his keynote presentation kicking off International Pizza Expo on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For more on Dorsey, visit and


Who are Millennials?

From a birth year’s perspective, the birth years we use are 1977 to 1995. We use ’77 to ’95 in the U.S., that would put us at 79.8 million people. What makes this conversation urgent in the pizza business is that we’re the fastest-growing generation in the workforce right now. Across the board, we are the fastest-growing generation of customers. We’re predicted to outspend Baby Boomers in 2017. That is really important because many of the traditional pizza brands, particularly the big brands, really came of age with Boomers. That’s who ordered — but if all of the sudden they are no longer the growth, that really does change the game and says that just because you’ve been around the longest doesn’t mean you have an advantage. In fact it may put you at a disadvantage when it comes to Gen Y.

So what you end up with is, for an independent operator, Gen Y is the sweet spot that you can win over. We have the least established loyalty. We have the most pin up purchasing demand. We have the greatest lifetime value of any customer you can win in the pizza business.

Winning Millennial customers…

In the restaurant category what we see is that increasingly Millennials start with their mobile device. They want to find what’s around them and they are also sharing where to go through that same mobile device. What that means for these independent operators is at the very, very least you have to have a mobile-friendly Web site.

What Gen Y and Millennials are looking for is the experience and, even more so, what is the authenticity or mission behind that restaurant. What we know for a fact is that Millennials prefer local over national. We just did a big study on this. Being locally owned, locally operated and having that local connection works extremely well.

At the same time what Millennials are looking for is customization. They want that unexpected, funky or unique pizza.



MORE WEB EXCLUSIVE Conversation with Jason Dorsey

Managing Millennial Employees…

What we see is that the best thing you can do is being very specific on the hiring piece (which I am going to share how to do in the session). Be very specific on training and the training should be video based and really driven through videos and photos because that is how we learn best. We’re visual. And there should be consistent reinforcement. One thing that also stands out is making sure that your Gen Y employees are able to do as much as possible by mobile. That includes scheduling, shift changes and so forth because it just makes it easier for everybody, including the boomer bosses.

There is a perception that Gen Y needs constant communication and we find that is not true. What they need is quick hit feedback. Instead of the formal review once a year or anything like that we just need five seconds once a month that lets us know that we are on track or that we need to improve something.