After years of chasing the young and the hip, restaurants are realizing that young people aren’t the ones keeping the industry afloat — their parents are. This is prompting companies to tweak everything from their sandwiches to their seats in a bid to woo baby boomers.
Pre-recession, young adults were the restaurant regulars. According to market research firm the NPD Group, adults under the age of 48 visited a restaurant, on average, 240 times in 2008.
Today, young adults struggle to move out of the house, let alone eat out nearly five times a week. “It’s the economy. They’ve learned to do without; they’re cooking at home,” said Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst for the NPD Group.
Conversely, those 55 and older spent more time last year in a booth, on a bar stool or waiting at the drive-thru. Those between the ages of 55 to 64 visited restaurants on average 220 times last year, the highest of any age bracket.