Operators encouraged to target the 'grey pound' as millennial spending declines

By Georgia Bronte contact

- Last updated on GMT

As millennial spending drops, operators should target the 'grey pound', report finds
Restaurant operators should be targeting the over 50s, according to a new report, which predicts their eat-out visits will increases three times faster than the total market over the next four years.

According to The Future of Foodservice: Great Britain 2022 ​report from global information company NPD, the 50s will account for more than 70% of the population between now and 2022, with the ‘grey pound’ worth being targeted by operators.

Over 50s today are wealthier, more active and more experimental when eating out than other generations, and their eat-out visits are predicted to increase by more than 4% by 2022, according to the report. This is three times faster than the total market and equates to 130 million visits.

These figures are in direct contrast to the  eating out habits of millennials, with NPD Group predicting that the amount of restaurant visits by consumers aged 25 to 34 will decrease from 20% to around 18% of the industry total of 11.5 billion visits.

This equates to around 115 million fewer visits annually and could cost the industry £800m a year, it says.

The over 50s are also worth targeting because of their spending habits. The average bill for the 50 to 64 age group at a full-service restaurant is £13.31, which is higher than any other age group. The NPD Group says that not only are the over 50s the biggest spenders, but they are also expected to account for 29% of weekend meals out by 2022. 

As they become more app-savvy, over 50s are even predicted to account for a larger percentage of delivery food. At present, they only account for 8% of delivery via apps, which NPD group expects to increase rapidly by 2022.

Operators are encouraged to attract the over 50s to make more frequent out-of-home food service visits, as they are predicted to be making on average 166 yearly visits, which is more than 1.5 times less than the 35 to 49 age group, who average 253 visits per year.

To increase business, operators are encouraged to close the frequency gap.

“Balancing lower eat-out business among 25-to-34s in the next five years with more business from the over 50s will be a challenge,” says Cyril Lavenant, foodservice director at the NPD Group.

“But Britain’s foodservice operators have the skills to address this. Brands and advertisers in many industries are beginning to make the over 50s more of a priority and the foodservice industry should do the same.”

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