When Dining over 55
If you’re among the nation’s seniors—55 or over (some say 65)—chances are you eat out 51 times a year. That’s what a 2009 study at Cornell University concluded, and that was during the recession. It means we’re eating out at least once a week “come hell or high water.” That’s more than the younger Millennials (born 1981-1996) are doing. Nice to know we can one-up them in some category.
What Do We Want?
Which type of restaurants do seniors choose? Here’s the breakdown of that 51 number: 27 casual dining; 15 fast food; 6 cafe or kiosk; and 3 fine dining.
The elderly are usually frugal in their spending when dining out. Of the popular brand restaurants they prefer: Olive Garden, Wendy’s, Outback, Red Lobster, and Chili’s.
When it comes to ethnic foods, seniors prefer Chinese, Mexican, and Italian. The elderly are most likely to eat some form of chicken or potatoes. Their next most popular meals are pizza and soup.
After reading the statistics, I analyzed my own restaurant eating habits and I don’t fit the norm. (I’m sure my friends and family would say that’s true in more than just my dining patterns.) I eat out about twice a week, usually lunch.
My favorite ethnic foods are Vietnamese, Mediterranean, and Indian. I choose a “casual dining” location most often and always look for an alternative to fast food. Never a drive-thru meal. When I choose a chain, it’s most often Brio.
Look for the Discount
Here’s a list of restaurants offering discounts to seniors. Most are franchised chains so the offers may differ by locality.