Chicago, March 20, 2019 —Millennial parents, just like parents from the generations that preceded them, are increasingly looking to restaurants to take on the task of cooking for their families. Millennials with children increased their restaurant visits by 5 percent in 2018 compared to prior year, reports The NPD Group. Their visit increase is in comparison to flat traffic growth for the total foodservice industry in 2018, according to NPD, which tracks on a daily basis U.S. consumers’ use of restaurants and other foodservice outlets.  

Millennials overall make the most restaurant visits per capita although their visits have been slowing.  As teens and young adults they influenced the growth of the fast casual category, the “fresh” movement, and were early adopters of the hottest sauces and an assortment of ethnic flavors. Now as parents with hectic lives they’re turning to restaurants for convenience. Their outlets of choice for a family meal are quick service restaurants, which includes fast casual restaurants. Millennials with kids made 7.3 billion visits to quick service restaurants in 2018. Dinner is the meal when they are most likely to turn to foodservice, but lunch and morning meal get their share of visits as well.

Where Millennial families choose to eat their foodservice meals or snacks varies with 46 percent eaten at home, 30 percent eaten at the restaurant, and the remaining percentage spread out among eating in the car, eating at work, at another location, and other places. When at home, Millennial parents will often blend a restaurant item with items they prepared. These types of blended at home meals are forecast to grow over the next few years, according to NPD’s Future of Dinner report.

“Millennials are and will continue to be important to the restaurant industry,” says David
Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America
. “Not only are they a large generational group but their attitudes about food and eating, which they’ve taken through life stages, have a tremendous influence on the foodservice industry.”