Generation X may be key to restaurant traffic growth

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Generation X eating at a restaurant
Generation X, ages 36 to 52, now represents 23% of all restaurant visits.
 

CHICAGO — With restaurant traffic growth stalled for the last few years, restaurant operators are looking to increase their traffic share, and a focus on Generation X, who represent 20% of the U.S. population, could be among the answers, according to an NPD Group food service study.

Generation X, ages 36 to 52, now represents 23% of all restaurant visits, not a significant difference from baby boomers (26%) and millennials (25%), the study revealed.

Bonne Riggs, NPD Group
Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst

“Boomers and millennials still make the most visits to restaurants and food service outlets, but Gen Xers aren’t far behind,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. “Many Gen Xers are looking to the convenience and experience restaurants offer because their kids are older and more independent.”

The NPD study, “What Matters Most to Key Generational Groups,” analyzes receipts from consumers and can follow the same consumer’s purchasing behavior over time. The study, which details what is important for this generational group, points out that Gen Xers enjoy dining out because they are more likely to have a dual income. Gen Xers put high importance on food quality, the ability to customize and craving satisfaction.

“In a competitive environment, it’s important for restaurant operators to understand how to gain the attention of important consumer groups,” Ms. Riggs said. “With a better understanding of what matters most to key generational groups, marketers can address the unique needs/behaviors of these consumers and create strategies to enhance engagement and increase sales by building loyalty among those groups most important to their business.” 
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