Demographic Trends that Could Shape Restaurant Menus

Posted by Ryan Owens on Mar 30th 2012

The nation’s demographics are a constantly changing figure and the preferences of each demographic can be vastly different in regards to their choice of food and beverages. Whether a restaurant caters to the 18-24 age group, the 50+ or even a little of both, it becomes an essential task to understand what customers want and know the way to deliver it to them.

According to a recent report by Restaurant News and Liz Sloan, trend watcher and president of Escondido, California based Sloan Trends Inc., the 50+ age group is currently the largest demographic of restaurant goers. They tend to have more disposable income and enjoy European style cooking above all else. They also enjoy more alcoholic beverages as a social pass time.

A once large, but currently declining demographic of food patrons is the 18-24 age group. This age group still spends the highest percentage of income on food service yearly. “Among these consumers, Italian, Spanish and Thai cuisines tend to be the most popular,” according to Sloan “defying the idea that Mexican and Chinese cuisines were top ranked.” These spending statics could be somewhat skewed however due to the lower average income of the age bracket.

Another popular demographic to focus on is children under the age of 11. Restaurants should seek to offer a vast array of options to children seeking a better selection of foods. It may sound petty, but offering a healthy yet tasty selection to these children can increase patronage by their parents.

Among these age groups are multiple small demographics of people that seek specialized service. Restaurants must have options geared to solo diners, snack seekers and breakfast goers. In fact, breakfast is among the fastest growing trends in today’s market. Progressive breakfast eaters, ones who begin by eating something small at home and purchase something more filling before arriving at their destination, is an ever growing segment and should be met with smaller portion offerings that are filling yet nutritious.

Speaking of nutrition, patrons are consistently seeking a healthier alternative to easier to find, high calorie meal offerings. With a country whose residents tend to be more overweight than not, the United States’ food industry is looking to uncover the fat and force healthier choices for people of all ages. With this, consumers are taught to snack in increments and stretch out their meals throughout the day. Key to a restaurant’s success could be healthier, low portion options to help fill this growing consumer request.

Finally, with the types of foods that are offered comes the environment in which they are offered in. Patrons seeking healthier choices and more bang for their buck are looking for environments that can promote their overall health while adding to their dining experience. Quality made restaurant tables and bar tables meeting governmental CARB safety standards for emissions are a must to preserve the environment and the overall health of restaurant patrons. When combined with stylish, durable seating, these restaurant environments become a suitable location for those seeking a high style, healthy environment. Add in specialized foods and nutrition filled options and there exists a winning combination for a successful restaurant or chain.

For more information on environmentally friendly yet stylish seating options, please refer to Classroom Essentials Online’s offering of restaurant and bar style furniture or call us at 866-404-7671 and speak with one of our friendly, informative staff members.