Baby Boomers and their seniors are making more visits to every segment of the restaurant industry than they did prior to the recession, while employment-challenged Millennials have cut back on out-of-home meals, according to The NPD Group.
Historically, older consumers were less frequent restaurant visitors than those in younger age groups, and so received less marketing attention.
But the visit rate for older restaurant consumers is now the same as it is for younger consumers. Boomers and older consumers have increased their share of restaurant traffic by six percentage points since 2008, as Millennials' share of traffic has declined by six percentage points, according to NPD's "Boomers and Beyond--Targeting for Success" report, focused on Boomers' restaurant behaviors and preferences.
Overall, restaurant traffic has improved slightly since the recession (up 1% in the year ending September 2012), according to NPD’s Crest foodservice market research.
Thanks entirely to older Boomers and "Mature Traditionalists," morning meal visits have recovered from pre-recession levels (up 2% percent for year ending September 2012). Older consumers are also providing support for recovery of lost supper visits.
On a visits-per-capita basis, older Boomers are now heavier users (most frequent) of restaurant morning and dinner meals than any other age group.