The study, done by researchers at NPD Group, found that each of the last four years has shown a decline in commercial foodservice traffic among all people over the age of 18. This drop is most pronounced in the 18-47 age group, where there was a 6% drop in dining out between 2008 and 2012.
But, contrary to the historical information claiming that people eat out less frequently the older they get, there has been slight bump in the eating-out rate for people in the 55-64 age group, and a dramatic increase among those older than 64, a group the study dubs “Mature Traditionalists,” which sounds like the most boring school of art theory ever.
This means that, per the NPD numbers, about the exact same rate of older consumers are dining out as there are younger folks.
“A lot of restaurant marketing dollars are aimed at Millennials but market share capture remains the growth path for restaurant operators, just as it has been for the past five years,” says 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.”