Millennials Cut Back on Restaurant Visits

CHICAGO — According to a recent report by The NPD Group, Millennials — once the chosen generation for many marketers because of their number and perceived buying power — are now viewed as a nonhomogeneous group. Depending on their age and lifestyles, they use restaurants differently.

Millennials as a group currently represent about 14.5 billion visits and $96 billion in spending for U.S. restaurants and foodservice outlets. This represents 23 percent of the total restaurant spend, but the group has cut back in both visits and spending, NPD found.

The report, Encouraging More Visits from Millennials, found that older Millennials aged 25-34, who are more likely to have families, have cut back the most on restaurant visits, making 50 fewer visits per person over the past several years. Younger Millennials, aged 18-24, made 33 fewer visits per person.

Annual per-capita restaurant spend for younger Millennials is $1,240, which is down $146 per person compared to their spending in 2007. Older Millennials’ annual per-capita spend is $1,369, down $213 per person.

The reasons Millennials are cutting back on visiting restaurants are varied, but the main reason is they are concerned about the money they spend on foodservice, particularly Millennial families with children, NPD reported. These Millennials indicated restaurants can be too expensive and that it is cheaper to eat at home.

They also stated they are cooking at home more often and “don’t at all mind” to do so, with about half claiming they like to cook. In addition to saving money, they feel better about cooking at home because they consider it healthier and it tastes better than what they can get outside of their homes.

“Even with their cutbacks, Millennials still make a lot of visits to restaurants and to encourage more visits, restaurant operators need to offer them a ‘good deal,’ which to Millennials means reasonable and affordable items that are of good quality and the right quantity,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD's restaurant industry analyst. “They not only want to get their money’s worth, they want good food and service.”

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