Making dough with Diane: 8 reasons to target baby boomers

Diane Chiasson
January 13, 2010
By
It’s 2010, and baby boomers are nearly all officially “senior citizens.” Most marketing companies eye the 18 to 40 demographic as their bread and but, in reality, it’s the baby boomers who still have cash to spend. Today’s 55 and older group is more active and savvier than ever. There are also twice as many senior citizens alive today as there were a generation ago. In short, this is a hot market to tap.

The 55+ group is willing to pay for good value
Today’s 55+ customers are not frugal and are not looking for penny-pinching deals. They are willing to pay a particular price for a good value. Create a senior’s special on your menu that offers a set meal for a set price.

The 55+ group is busy
Our idea that 55+ customers have plenty of time to make their meals from scratch is so 30 years ago. While some of today’s 55+ group are retired, many still work full-time hours. Those who have retired are keeping busy with home renovation projects, taking care of grandchildren, or going back to school to learn new trades. This means that this busy group still has a need to order a pizza now and then. Consider offering a 10 per cent senior citizen’s discount for all takeout orders.

The 55+ group is staying in shape
Many of today’s 55+ demographic exercise regularly, and are very aware of eating more healthily than they once did. Many have also added vitamins and supplements to their daily intake. Market your pizzas as being rich in nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, B-complex vitamins and protein.

The 55+ people want to stay young
The desire to look younger is also something that today’s 55+ is obsessing about. Consider creating a special anti-aging salad or pizza that features ingredients that are well known for their anti-aging traits, like sprouts, avocado, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and kale, garlic, ginger and nuts. Name it the “anti-aging pizza.”

Respect their age
While today’s 55+ customers may still think young, you can’t treat them like kids. The loud, in-your-face ads, computer-generated graphics, and hip and irreverent copy may work for younger demographics, but could turn the 55+ group away. 

The 55+ group eats less
Like children, seniors tend to have smaller appetites. While some restaurants do offer a specific senior’s menu, some 55+ people may prefer not to be segmented in that manner. Offering a half portion at a reduced rate may be a more subtle and sophisticated
approach.

The 55+ consumers are wiser
Consumers in the 55+ group have been around a lot longer, and have seen restaurants and pizza operations evolve over time. They also have more years of eating-out experience under their belts. These customers are good guides to finding out what is good and bad about your establishment. Take their comments and criticisms seriously.

The 55+ group is likely to contribute to the community
Today’s 55+ customers are a charitable generation, and love to help out a wide variety of different organizations. Consider donating a portion of your sales of a particular menu item (like your new anti-aging pizza) to a war memorial fund, or other senior-related causes or organizations. You can also provide food for these events.

Baby boomers are a growing demographic with money to spend. Now is a great time to ensure your pizzeria is appealing to the new ‘senior citizens’.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for more than 25 years. She provides innovative food and retail merchandising programs, interior design, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at1-888-926-6655 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com.

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