Baby boomers are clear influencers in foodservice, making up 29% of the Canadian population. They also boast a remarkable purchasing power of $200 billion. Although not as adventurous as younger generations, boomers are making flavour demands on both traditional and better-for-you fare. Like other generations, they are not willing to sacrifice flavour at the altar of health and wellness. Technomic Inc. reports that their flavour preferences are broadening as they look for feel-good food on foodservice menus today.
Menu language is a powerful marketing tool, and smart restaurateurs are keying into specific values, relaying them on their menus with well-chosen descriptors. Using buzzwords that appeal to boomers makes good business sense, evoking that all-important emotional connection and driving repeat traffic.
As boomers age, health and wellness are a growing concern. Diners in this demographic seek restaurants that provide nutrient-rich, better-for-you fare. To gain a competitive advantage, foodservice operators must make that healthier food craveable and delicious. This is where menu language is crucial, relaying both a health message and a flavourful one. Including practical terms like “low-calorie” and “low-sodium” will show them you’re providing what they need. And employing words like “citrus-infused,” “herb-encrusted” and “fresh vegetables” demonstrates your attention to the overall flavour experience.
Cooking techniques offer buzzwords that convey healthier preparation that appeals to boomers’ menu needs while delivering a promise of developed flavours. “Wood-grilled,” “oak-charred” and “cedar-roasted” are a few phrases that signal healthful and flavourful cooking. They also relay culinary craftsmanship, a value that today’s diners desire—no matter what their demographic.
Like most modern diners, boomers seek authentic dining experiences, looking for cues that someone is preparing their food with expert care and attention. Use your menu to express handmade techniques, such as “hand-crafted,” “house-pickled,” “freshly prepared” and “freshly squeezed.” “Premium” and “homemade” are buzzwords that resonate with boomers, too, Technomic says. But, the report says, although they’re slightly more likely than younger generations to buy items labeled as “fresh,” they’re less willing to pay an upcharge for them.
Small plates, shareable portions, and bar snacks are all trending in modern foodservice, but boomers are looking for smaller portions for different reasons than millennials, Gen X or Gen Z. Instead of being driven by the social aspect of the trend, they may have smaller appetites, or prefer eating mindful snacks throughout the day rather than large meals. Whatever the motivation, use menu language to let them know you have engineered the menu to fit their dining habits. Choose menu buzzwords like “lighter fare,” “nibbles,” “bites” and “half-portions” to entice boomers.
Boomers are a dining demographic worthy of serious attention. Although not as headline-grabbing as the millennials and Gen Z, they represent a huge customer base. Understanding what words resonate with them will help attract and retain these diners.