A. Elizabeth Sloan

Get set for some wild times in the restaurant business. Economic worries have diners trading down to less-expensive eateries and buying up to premium foods.

The restaurant industry is projected to grow by 3% this year and through 2007.High-spending Boomers are rushing back to restaurants after the kids have gone, with a new set of menu demands and culinary styles almost diametrically opposed to those of Generation Y, long the heaviest users of restaurants.

Although restaurant visits have traditionally declined with age, hard-working Baby Boomers, who continue to buck retire…

Table 1 Top 10 fastest-growing restaurant chains with sales over $200 million. From Technomic (2006a).

Table 2 Top 10 flavors, herbs, and spices most frequently mentioned on restaurant menus. From Mintel (2006c).

Table 3 Claims that consumers worldwide consider extremely or very important to be on food labels. From HealthFocus (2006).

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