Report: Baby Boomers Are Spending Less At Restaurants
Have Baby Boomers lost their spending luster at restaurants? Some reports suggest Baby Boomers are spending less on eating out, while others point to increased sales by Baby Boomers over the past few years as evidence that boomers still have their spending power.
What’s Going On?
In terms of demographics and analyzing spending habits of seniors, there is no doubt that Baby Boomers are headed toward spending less in retirement. There are 76 million Baby Boomers in the United States, according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. They are between the ages of 50 and 68. Baby Boomers make up 24 percent of the U.S. population as of 2012.
Since senior citizens tend to live on a fixed income and many boomers haven’t saved enough for retirement, it’s not hard to see that boomer spending power is on the cusp of declining, even if there has been a short blip defying the trend.
Recent data showed consumers aged 65 and older bought more restaurant meals in 2013 than a year earlier and spent more per average on a check, $8.05, than customers who were 18 and older and ate on average $7.33.
That being said, despite Millennials being the largest generation group at 90 million, spending among this crowd decreased by the same amount it increased by boomers over the past couple of years, about 6 percent, the NPD Group reported. Generation X represents about 60 million.
What’s A Restaurant To Do?
Trend-tracker NPD Group recommends adjusting marketing strategies to appeal to a wide range of demographics so that businesses can attract new customers before they say goodbye to old ones.
What appeals to seniors isn’t going to become a fad with Millennials, but there has to be a middle ground. Restaurants can have modern furnishings and think they are appealing to a younger crowd but the real target group that should be a focus for long-term health is those in their 30s to 60s.
Young Millennials will eventually graduate to a more mature way of living when they have children and are not as attracted to fads. If a restaurant were to appeal to older Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers they will find they have a huge pool of consumers with varied but similar tastes.
Leverage similarities in needs like convenient locations, fast service and ambiance. Consumers like different things, but if a restaurant were to offer some core traditional menu items to appeal to boomers and some innovative offerings to address Millennial tastes, they might find success.
Everyone enjoys it when someone else makes dinner. Consumers just want to receive the service in different ways so offer a mix of services to satisfy all customer needs. Millennials like food delivered, while Generation Z, the youngest set of consumers representing 84 million, enjoy takeout as do Generation X. Boomers favor dining-in by a large margin over all the other generations, according to the Generational Consumer Trend Report.
The key is not to develop tunnel vision and see any one generation as the key to success. Try to appeal to as many generations as possible by offering a mix of menus items and service deliveries. Do you like your curry at a dine-in restaurant or by takeout?