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Diner Demographics

Diner Demographics

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Published by: Nicoel on Nov 11, 2011
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Reading for HRIM 170

Restaurants & Institutions
May 1, 2007

Diner Demographics: Higher Frequency
Millennials—from kids to 20-somethings—eat away from home often and aren’t afraid to spend money. By Derek Gale, Associate Editor Research shows that Millennials eat out more than any other generation and have the highest average weekly household expenditures on food and beverages. So for operators who aren’t exactly sure who the Millennials are, it makes good business sense to learn. Also known as Gen Y or Echo Boomers, these consumers actually coined the term Millennials themselves because of their preference not to be closely associated with Gen X, according to Neil Howe and William Strauss, co-authors of "Millennials Rising" (Vintage Books, 2000). Howe and Strauss use 1982 to 2000 as birth years for this demographic, putting its members in an age range from 6 to 25. One constant among these customers: They have only known a world loaded with technology. From televisions and personal computers in their bedrooms to portable media devices in their pockets, Millennials are comfortable with technology and can process information up to five times faster than their baby boomer parents, says Dr. Nita Rollins, director of thought leadership at Columbus, Ohiobased marketing firm Resource Interactive. "With this generation, they’re always on, they expect the whole world to be Wi-Fi’d," she says. Perhaps that explains why they are more likely to have used the Internet to choose a restaurant than are other generations. Intensely social, Millennials dine out frequently and look for environments that welcome them, entertain them and offer products and amenities (including Wi-Fi) that meet their needs, says Michael Wood, vice president and director of research at Northbrook, Ill.-based Teen Research Unlimited. Millennials are the group most likely to purchase lunch from foodservice establishments (especially at work). When having dinner out, 68% of Millennials say they always or often order food different from what they typically eat at home. And while Millennials may be frequent diners, foodservice shouldn’t take them for granted: This age group is the most likely to have tried a meal-assembly service.

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