From Babies to Boomers: How To Best Serve
David Farkas led a panel on the opportunities in the QSR and other segments.
Serving the youngest and the oldest segments of the populations was a conversation that evolved from the QSR: Opportunities and Challenges workshop at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in November.
Franchise Times Columnist David Farkas was the moderator, and panelists were David Palmer of RBC Capital Markets; Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant analyst with NPD Group; and John Gordon of Pacific Consulting Group.
Here’s how to delight these two groups, whether you're delivering food fast or table service:
- Kids no longer want what’s considered kids’ food or a kids' menu. Children over 6 want to order off the regular menu, the experts agreed. To keep dining out affordable for a family of four, they suggested having a section on the menu of cheaper, smaller portions—but don’t ID it as “kids.” The down side, of course, is that other guests may opt for the smaller, less expensive portions, but remember, adults have bigger appetites than finicky kids and may order two or more of the smaller dishes.
- Baby boomers have become heavy users of fast food, and seniors 65 and older have dramatically increased their visits to all restaurants. To accommodate these older diners, restaurants should have comfortable seating in the dining area, good lighting (don’t make them get out their flashlight phone app), no loud music that interferes with conversation or is annoying to older diners, and the size of the print on menus and menu boards needs to be large enough to be read by both the far- and near-sighted.
- Hire so that your crews or staff look like the customers—both age wise and ethnically. So while you won’t hire “kids,” have a few seniors taking orders or delivering food.