NEW YORK — According to Packaged Facts, without the influence of Hispanic spending and population patterns, restaurant industry sales would have declined from 2008 to 2010. Additionally, youth in this segment provide an important opportunity for restaurant growth.

The Hispanic share of consumer-driven restaurant sales increased to 12.7% in 2011, up from 12% in 2006, although Hispanic share of limited-service restaurant sales decreased slightly during most of that period.

From 2005 to 2025, the U.S. Census projected approximately 70% of the estimated 47.2 million in population growth during this period will be driven by Hispanic population growth. The fastest-growing segments of the Hispanic population will be those 45 and older, but the under-25 generation is still expected to represent 43.2% of all Hispanics.

Younger consumers also are more likely to use limited-service and snack and beverage restaurants.

Specifically, Hispanics ages 18-24 are about 25% more likely than Hispanics in general to use both limited-service and snack and beverage restaurants at least 14 times a month. Non-Hispanics using of the same market also skew toward the younger crowd, but the prevalence of younger Hispanic consumers makes this population even more important to the restaurant industry.