What’s On the Menu for Baby Boomers and Millennials?

As mentioned in an earlier post, baby boomer and millennial consumers combined account for two-thirds of every dollar spent in restaurants today, and this percentage is predicted by the IFDA to rise to three-quarters of every dollar spent by 2020.

With so much spending power contained within these two market segments, the question of what each one of them looks for on a restaurant menu is obviously primordial for restaurant operators up and down the country.

The good news for operators is that while there are obvious differences between these generations, when it comes to what they want to see on a restaurant menu, commonalities emerge. Although serving size appeal varies—with millennials leaning more toward sharing plates and small, tapas style meals, and baby boomers desirous of the more traditional, three course meal offerings—the ingredients both groups want to see used in the menu items remain the same.

Locally sourced, seasonal, fresh, natural, healthy, and organic are words which both consumer groups equate with the type of food they want to see in their restaurants of choice, and with 64% of consumers across all age groups ordering a menu item only if it features produce which is in season according to Datassential’s 2012 Consumer Survey, this demand is fast becoming a deal-maker or breaker for consumers, market wide.

When the fact that seasonal menu items, once the exclusive domain of high-end establishments, have become expected of brands at every level—from QSRs to fine dining—by the vast majority of consumers is added to this, it begs the question: with four seasons in the year, and few other methodologies to link the demands of both consumer groups, shouldn’t more operators be looking at the advantages seasonal menu updates can bring to their market, and their bottom line?