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Boomers are Big Spenders … In Restaurants

Posted on | February 2, 2009 | No Comments

By Marti Barletta

It seems that Boomers spend more per person on restaurant meals ($1,077 each) than than any other age group according to the National Restaurant Association.  Given their busy schedules and high incomes that shouldn’t be too surprising. It seems that they are also the most quality-minded, least value conscious and most interested in details about ingredients.  I’d wager a guess that PrimeTime Women™, who tend to focus on details more than their male counterparts, lead the way in that final category!

What may be a surprise to the food service industry is what lies ahead. Generation X is a full 30 percent smaller than the baby-boom generation.  Over the next 10 years the pool of customers with children will shrink along with the market for convenience aimed at these busy families. Fast-food and mid-scale family eateries will see the greatest impact.  Operators will have to refocus their menus and ramp up service to attract the high-spending 50-plus market segment in order to stay successful.  One suggestion from Elizabeth Sloan’s article Bringing Back The Boomers — Add more small samplers and tasting flights to appeal to boomers’ sense of moderation.

Sloan says, “Boomers remain the perfect food-service customers. They’re not afraid to spend, they believe in the full restaurant experience — from pre-dinner cocktails to dessert and everything in between — and they know what they like….96 million Americans will be age 50 or older in the next five years, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, and when the last boomer turns 65 in 2030, this demographic will control 40 percent of the nation’s disposable income.  Let’s make sure they’re well served.”

I say, “PrimeTime Women™” will be the ones making the reservations (and picking up the checks!).

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