CORRECTED – US restaurant traffic growth to lag population-NPD

(Corrects restaurant visit figures to billions from millions
in paragraph 3)

* NPD sees annual restaurant visits up 8 pct from 2009-19

* U.S. restaurant growth seen at less than 1 pct/year

* U.S. population growth seen at 1.1 pct/yr

* Aging Baby Boomers to eat out less as they get older

LOS ANGELES, Aug 25 (BestGrowthStock) – Growth in visits to U.S.
restaurants will lag population expansion over the next decade
as aging Baby Boomers — key restaurant customers — cut back
on meals away from home, market research firm NPD Group said on
Wednesday.

Traffic to U.S. restaurants is expected to be up less than
1 percent a year from 2009 to 2019, while U.S. population
growth is expected to be 1.1 percent a year over the same
period, said NPD.

NPD expects 64.8 billion visits to U.S. restaurants in
2019, up about 8 percent from 59.8 billion in 2009. At the same
time, it expects annual visits per person to fall to 191.5 in
2019 from 197.1 in 2009.

Baby Boomers — defined as individuals born between 1946
and 1964 — represent about a third of the U.S. adult
population, and will do so through the next decade, according
to demographers.

“The aging effect on the restaurant industry will be
slightly negative” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD’s restaurant industry
analyst.

“As consumers age they become less frequent restaurant
users. This means the restaurant industry will have heavier
dependence on lighter buyers,” Riggs said.

U.S. adults tend to spend less after they hit the age of 50
and many have been forced to pull back even more as the
economic downturn and accompanying stock market and housing
price drops have erased significant personal wealth.

To that end, Washington-based Employee Benefit Research
Institute recently found that 47 percent of “early boomers,”
now 56 to 62 and nearing retirement age, are likely to exhaust
their retirement savings. [ID:nN13258972]

“In addition to being hit hard by the recession, Americans
are eating more suppers at home, and fewer women entering the
workforce have negatively impacted restaurant industry
traffic,” Riggs said.

While the restaurant industry cannot do much about aging
Baby Boomers and lackluster population growth, Riggs said it
can help buck those trends by focusing on growth opportunities
like breakfast and evening snacking.

McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N: ), the best performing large U.S.
fast-food chain, has used breakfast and snacks to outperform
rivals like Burger King Holdings Inc (BKC.N: ), Wendy’s/Arby’s
Group Inc (WEN.N: ) Wendy’s and Yum Brands Inc’s (YUM.N: ) Taco
Bell.
(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

CORRECTED – US restaurant traffic growth to lag population-NPD