April 6, 2009

18-year-olds are smarter than baby boomers

Who said youth is wasted on the young?

The NPD Group -- the leading market research company -- reported surprising, yet heartening, news. Shifting customer demographics are happening in the restaurant business as parents decide to leave the kids at home, and young adults, ages 18 to 24, cut back on restaurant visits. In 2008 that group went to restaurant 8 percent less. The group cites unhealthy food as the top reason.

However, there was bad news for baby boomers -- my generation. They increased their visits to fast food restaurants in 2008 vs. 2007. That's not good.

We need to follow the example of our children and grandchildren. Skip fast-food restaurants. They only serve high-calorie, low nutritional food. Find a local restaurant in your neighborhood using local ingredients, serving small healthy portions for a good value.

In the 3/31/2009 press release, the 18 to 24 age group was described as:

Health and food quality is top-of-mind with them. The study finds they feel restaurant food is often too high in calories, and there aren’t enough healthy/nutritious options. They also reference poor food quality, not freshly prepared, and no fresh ingredients when evaluating restaurant food.

Considering the cost of adding kids' meals to a restaurant check, it's not surprising that adults are deciding to keep the kids at home, and I believe we'll see more kids in restaurants once the economy improves," says Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. "It's a different situation with the 18-24 year-olds, their restaurant preferences have been changing over the last few years, and it will be important for restaurant operators to understand these preferences in order to get them back in."

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