If you’re among the nation’s seniors—55 or over—chances are you eat our 51 times a year. That 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 (age 18 to 34) are doing. Nice to know we can one-up them in some category.
What and Where Do Seniors Eat?
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 frugal in their spending when dining out. Of the popular brand restaurants they prefer: Olive Garden, Wendy’s, Outback, Red Lobster, and Chili’s.
The most popular ethnic foods are Chinese, Mexican, and Italian. The elderly are most likely to eat chicken and potatoes. Their next most popular meals are pizza and soup. Bananas are their most eaten fruit.
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 a 2-3 times a week, usually lunch, because I’m out over the noon hour. My favorite ethnic foods are Vietnamese and Indian. Favorite chain restaurant: Bricktop. I choose a “casual dining” location most often and always look for an alternative to fast food. My popular lunchtime meals would be fish, sandwich or salad. Blueberries are my fruit of choice rather than bananas.
Here’s a list of restaurants offering discounts to seniors. Most are franchised chains so the offers may differ by locality.