Boomers have been the key demographic for Panera Bread, constituting about 41% of the chain's customers as opposed to the 30% common to the quick-and-casual restaurant category as a whole. Part of the reason is that older consumers, who are delaying retirement and have more income, are now dining out nearly as often as younger consumers. "Restaurants shouldn't stop marketing to the younger generation, but this older group has more money, so why not go after them?" said NPD restaurant analyst Bonnie Riggs.

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