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
- Higher Standards blog: Follow for trend updates
- Higher Standards social media feeds: Link to Cindy or follow us on Facebook
- Kind Dining® Connection: Subscribe for trend updates
- AHCANCAL.org: Find industry data and watch their social media feeds to follow trending issues
- The Lempert Report: Insights into retail, consumer, food and shopping trends, subscribe at SuperMarketGuru.com
- AARP.com and AARP magazine: One of the most read online and print magazines among Boomers
- The Dr. Oz Show: Catch the highlights at DrOz.com
- HealthyAging.net: Watch the food page for dietary trends
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.
- Vegetarian Resource Guide for Restaurants: Available online at MercyforAnimals.org
- Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd by Moosewood Collective, New York, NY, publ. John Wiley & Sons, 1997
- Professional Vegetarian Cooking by Ken Bereron, publ. John Wiley & Sons, 1999
- Vegan in Volume by Nancy Berkoff, RD, publ. Vegetarian Resource Group, 2000
- VegtarianNutrition.net: Consumer vegetarian resource page from Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND)
- Tips for Introducing Vegetarian Food into Institutions: Available online from Vegetarian Resource Group at VRG.org
- Soyfoods.org: Soyfoods Association of North America
- VNDPG.org: Member site of the Vegetarian Nutritian Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutritian and Dietetics (AND)
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
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
- 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.