Professor Examines Generation Gap in Foodservice Habits

Friday, October 14, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 14, 2011) – America’s two largest generations, Baby Boomers and Millennials, jointly comprise 151 million individuals who are responsible for nearly 65 out of every $100 spent in the foodservice industry – this figure will rise to close to $75 within the next ten years. Possessing a firm grasp of their habits and expectations regarding foodservice is invaluable to marketers and will be even more so in the future.

Richard J. George, Ph.D, chair and professor of food marketing at Saint Joseph’s University, explored the subject in a paper entitled “Mature Millennials v. Mature Baby Boomers: Foodservice Attitudes and Behaviors – Similarities, Differences, Opportunities,” recently published by the International Foodservice Distributors Association. 

George’s paper focuses on Mature Millennials, those who are 25 to 34 years of age, and Mature Baby Boomers, who are 55 to 64 years of age.

“Both generations have been studied extensively, however there is no publicly available research that describes in-depth their attitudes and behavior toward foodservice,” says George. “In order for the industry to enhance its offerings and broaden strategic planning, it needs to understand the similarities and differences of these two engines that drive the business.”

The research uncovered key similarities between the generations:

Cleanliness, taste, value, convenience and customer service are the most important attributes when selecting a restaurant. is the primary site used to select a restaurant. The main reason for joining a Facebook fan page is to receive coupons and discount offers. The study also points to revealing differences between the two generations:

72 percent of Mature Baby Boomers prefer to order by phone compared to 59 percent of Mature Millennials. 9 percent of Mature Baby Boomers prefer to order via the Internet compared to 32 percent of Mature Millennials. 25 percent of Mature Millennials use Smartphones for tasks such as making reservations and checking menus compared to less than 10 percent of Mature Baby Boomers. The research illustrates the importance of customizing marketing strategies and tactics for each generation. “A one size fits all approach will be doomed to failure,” says George. “The sheer numbers and purchasing power of these generations represent untapped potential if we can get each generation to perceive ‘your restaurant as their restaurant.’”

Media Contact

Carolyn Steigleman, Director of Communications for the Haub School of Business, 610-660-1355,

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