Baby Boomers Impact on Restaurants

baby boomers impact on restaurantsMany of those in the Baby Boomer generation may have not partied until the wee hours ringing in the New Year last week, but Baby Boomers certainly have an impact on restaurants.

According to NPD Group, a leading global information and market study group, Baby Boomers and seniors are making more restaurant visits (including every segment of the industry) than prior to the recession (“Boomers Increase Restaurant Visits While Millennials Cut Back,” Boomers and older patrons have increased their share of restaurant traffic by six percent since 2008 while Millennials have reduced their share of traffic by the same amount.

Reasons for the Change

The recession may be a primary driver of the swap noted by NPD. Younger adults were hit much harder by unemployment than their Baby Boomer and older counterparts. Other factors, including more disposable income, may also play a role; however, older Americans have generally tended to have more disposable than young families. The current swap with people older than 49 eating out more often than younger diners is the first time that’s happened and appeared as a result in the NPD study.

Additionally, since birth, Baby Boomers have represented the proverbial “lump in the snake” and have altered demographics at every turn. It’s no surprise that now they’re altering the impact they have on restaurants as part of an older demographic.

The Food Service Warehouse suggests that some of the general psychographic (based on behavior, values, opinions, interests and lifestyle) statistics include:

  • Smaller households eat out more often than larger ones
  • Empty nesters eat out more and spend more when they do
  • Empty nesters are typically more concerned with quality of food and atmosphere than price
  • The idea that older people eat out less may change with the aging of Baby Boomers, a generation accustomed to eating out more often

Catering to the Demographic

The National Restaurant Association suggests that Baby Boomers and older patrons make excellent regulars – the types of folks you want to see returning again and again. It may clearly be in your best interest to cater to their wants.

According to Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst, “Gaining market share among population segments increasing in both number and their use of restaurants, like Boomers, eases the struggle. Operators just need to keep in mind that reaching the older customers requires recognizing what it is they want from their restaurant experiences.”

The Baby Boomers will have an impact on restaurants as they have had on every industry since they began hitting the scene over 60 years ago. Don’t ignore this demographic thinking that older people don’t dine out as often. That’s quickly changing.


  1. […] Demographic due diligence is moving to the forefront. Yes, Millennials tend to dine out most often, but other demographics can’t be ignored. Hispanics and women as dining out patrons are demographics that are growing. (Also see Baby Boomer Impact on Restaurants.) […]