Six consumer demographic and buying trends

By Diane Chiasson

The world is changing quickly, as are the demographics of consumers with the most spending power, as well as their buying habits. This means that your restaurant operation needs to change and adapt as well in order to be successful.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, President of Chiasson Consultants Inc., a restaurant and foodservice consultancy firm based in Toronto, takes a look at current consumer demographic and buying trends, and how your restaurant or foodservice operation can change to adapt to these trends:

1. Seniors have the most money

The Canadian population is aging, and people over the age of 50 currently account for almost one-third of the population. This set also has the most spending power. So while catering to the young and trendy might seem like the right move, you might want to consider targeting the older, wealthier crowd as well. However…

2. Millennials are more daring

Millennials (kids born in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s) tend to be more interested in trying new foods and drinks, including alcoholic beverages. So if your restaurant operation attracts a younger crowd, their interests are geared towards more sweet and signature cocktails, craft beers and boutique spirits. Since millennials are also the most racially diverse group, they are comfortable within all different types of cultures and ethnicities, and look for authenticity in their foods.

3. Ethnic population growing

The ethnic population in Canada continues to grow at an explosive rate, especially within the Muslim, Hispanic and Chinese communities. Consider adding items on your menu to attract more ethnic people including offering Halal meat, spicier foods or more Asian flavours.

4. Families are getting bigger

Three is the new two, and more and more professional and wealthy moms are having more kids and bigger families. Therefore, the traditional “family of four” may be growing to “family of five, six or seven”! Consider setting up booths that accommodate between five to six people to give larger families more private space in your dining room. Also, consider tweaking your family meal deals to include larger families.

5. Consumers want lighter, healthier, affordable food

Sales of soups and salads have been steadily on the rise over the past few years, as more and more consumers are looking for lighter and healthier food options. So consider beefing up your soup and salad options on your menu, or offer a side soup or side salad for a small additional price with your entrees.

6. Looking for quick convenience

Today’s consumers are busier than ever, and time has become a big commodity. For sit-down restaurants, work on delivering your customers’ meals in a timely order, and for quick-service operations, take a look at how you can increase your speed of service without compromising your food. Restaurants can also consider offering home-meal solutions, and ramping up your takeout/delivery business.

About the author:

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 years. She is recognized as one of the best restaurant consultants in Toronto. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655, or visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *