In a piece of bad news for the restaurant industry, the NPD Group is reporting that Millennials have cut back on eating out -- the first time that such behavior has been seen in 18- to-34-year-olds, who have always eaten out more frequently than other age groups.
"This is a shift of biblical proportions for the restaurant industry," NPD chief industry
analyst Harry Balzer told USA Today.
Specifically, NPD's survey of Millennials showed them eating out 202 times on average this year, versus 252 times per year in 2007.
NPD attributes this to the unusually high unemployment rate among this age group (10.8% as of last month).
The National Restaurant Association's SVP research, Hudson Riehle, said he doesn't see this age group "stampeding to the home kitchen," although he acknowledged that the job problems have made them more careful about restaurant spending.
He also pointed out that the restaurant industry is projected to grow 3.5% this year, to a record $632 billion.