The combination of anemic consumer confidence, a recession that has claimed 8 million jobs, decreased household wealth, and an uptick in the saving rate presents unique challenges for the restaurant industry, especially as consumer discretionary income is its lifeblood.
Without the influence of Hispanic spending and population patterns, therefore, restaurant industry sales would have declined during 2008 through 2010, according to "Latino Foodservice Trends in the U.S.," a recently released report from Packaged Facts.
Hispanic share of consumer-driven restaurant sales has ticked upward from 12% in 2006 to 12.7% in 2011, although Hispanic share of limited-service sales decreased slightly over most of this period.
From 2005 to 2025, the U.S. Census has projected 78% growth in the Hispanic population, compared to 15% growth in the general population. Put another way, some 70% of the estimated 47.2 million in population growth during 2005–25 is attributed to Hispanic population growth.
While the fastest growing segments of the Hispanic population will be those age 45 or over, under-25s are still expected to comprise 43.2% of all Hispanics, underscoring the long-term importance of younger Hispanics to the restaurant industry.
According to David Sprinkle, publisher of Packaged Facts, younger consumers are more likely to use limited-service and snack and beverage restaurants than average, and likely to use them more often–and Hispanic consumers are no exception.
For example, Hispanics age 18–24 are about 25% more likely than Hispanics in general to use both limited-service and at least 14 times per month. While non-Hispanic usage similarly tilts to youth, the prevalence of younger consumers in the Hispanic population makes Hispanic youth that much more important to the restaurant industry.[Source: "Latino Foodservice Trends in the U.S." Packaged Facts. 30 Nov. 2011. Web. 6 Dec. 2011.]