CHICAGO — Young adults have cut back on restaurant visits, while Baby Boomers and people over 65 have increased their restaurant visits, according to a new study by NPD Group, a market research company based here.
NPD's CREST division released data this week that show a drop in restaurant visits by the 18-24 age group from 254 per capita in 2007 to 233 in 2008. Meanwhile, per capita visits by ages 50-64 increased from 204 to 209. The per capita visits in the over-65 group rose even more, from 151 to 160. Also, the NPD CREST figures show that restaurant visits by parties with kids under 13 declined by 3% from 2007 to 2008. That was true at both quick-service and full-service locations. Leaving the kids at home is a money-saver, the research shows, but with the 18-to-24-year-olds, health and quality of food were factors in decreased visits.
The study found that that group feels restaurant food is often too high in calories and that not enough nutritious or healthy alternatives are offered. They also referenced poor food quality, not freshly prepared, and no fresh ingredients when evaluating restaurant food.
"There's a long-term behavior shift occurring," said Bonnie Riggs, NPD industry analyst in a statement release with the study results. "Restaurant operators need to know the customer profile is changing and it's not just about the economy."
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