Boomer Trends and Resources

In 2011 the Baby Boomer generation started reaching retirement age. Which means senior living communities are starting to serve the wealthiest, healthiest, and most demanding generation yet. As I explain in my presentation How to Meet the Demanding Dining Needs of Boomers, the newest generation of retirees are typically interested in a wider range of food choices than previous generations were, and they lean toward choices that are healthy for the body and planet alike.

The following list of resources will help you stay abreast of Boomer trends and meet their dining expectations.

Watch What’s Trending for Boomers Now

Keep an eye on the issues that are important to Boomers today and what is becoming important in order to meet their expectations.

Add Vegetarian/Vegan Choices to Your Menu

Vegan choices, especially, are an excellent way to satisfy a large cross-section of diners seeking alternatives. In addition to vegetarians and vegans, people who are lactose-intolerant, watching their cholesterol, observing religious dietary restrictions, and/or environmentally conscious appreciate vegan dishes. Plus, many ethnic and trending health foods are vegan or vegetarian, so, with thoughtful planning, you can cover a wide spectrum of Boomer dining desires with your vegan/vegetarian menu section.

Improve Ingredient Quality

The easiest way to upgrade your menu is to upgrade your ingredients. The easiest way to satisfy Earth-friendly Boomers is to implement food grown locally, humanely and organically. Your local farmers can help you meet both these goals at once.

  • LocalHarvest.org: Directory of farms, CSAs and farmers’ markets searchable by zip code
  • EatWild.com: Directory of pasture-based farms searchable by state
  • EatWellGuide.com: Directory of farms, CSAs, artisans and farmers’ markets searchable by zip, city, state, or keyword
  • CertifiedHumane.org: List of companies/farms that sell products that are Certified Humane by Humane Farm Animal Care
  • NaturallyGrown.org: Directory of all Certified Naturally Grown farms and apiaries searchable by state, product or farm
  • FoodAlliance.org: Directory of all Food Alliance certified producers searchable by state, product or farm
  • UNFI.com: United Natural Foods, Inc. Distributor of natural, organic and speciality products

Don’t Forget the Men

Men are a significant part of our population, but too often we neglect their preferences. When planning your dining program, remember men eat differently than women.

Boomer Pleasing Foods You Should Include on Your Menus

Nutrition & Foodservice Edge Article by Cindy Heilman, MS, DTR edge-cover
starts on page 29

The Baby Boomer generation is starting to retire, which means more and more are looking at senior living communities. Even the youngest Boomers are shopping for senior housing—for their parents. This is a demographic shift we can’t afford to ignore when it’s time to plan the menu. Are you seeing more Boomers touring your community with an eye toward the best situation for their mom and dad?

They are likely scrutinizing more than just the nutritional value of your daily fare. They are interested in menu variety and quality. Boomers are a well-informed generation and very concerned about health and lifestyle issues. It’s time to add menu choices designed to satisfy their more sophisticated palates. [more]

Most Importantly, Provide Superior Service and Genuine Hospitality

The recipe for success in any dining environment is:
  •  Great food that meets or exceeds customers’ expectations
  • Great service that meets or exceeds customers’ expectations

Between the two, great service is the most important because, as Alton Brown says, “Good service can save a bad meal, but there is no level of food that can save bad service.”

Create an organization that provides the exceptional service and genuine hospitality Boomers’ expect in the dining room. Because this is where you can truly positively impact your bottom line. If your service makes Boomers choose your community over the competition, you’ll have the competitive edge in your marketplace.

How do you do that? Kind Dining® Training. Your staff wasn’t born knowing how to serve meals properly and hospitably, but they can learn. You can teach them to be your biggest company asset and turn your dining room into a marketing magnet for Baby Boomers.