They are the fastest growing population group in the United States, 18 percent now and expected to reach more than 25 percent by 2045, yet there's very little evidence of that in most on-premise operations. But without greater attention to the tastes and preferences of the Hispanic consumer, bar, nightclub and restaurant operators will find themselves on the losing end of a rapidly changing demographic mix.
As Donna Hood Crecca, Technomic Inc.'s senior director, adult beverages resource group, pointed out at the recently concluded VIBE Conference, held in conjunction with the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show, the opportunities are unsurpassed and wide open when it comes to developing business from these mostly young, more male than female, primarily Mexican in origin, consumers. But tapping into some of this growing cohort, or at least being aware of how their behavior and your business might coincide, is crucial for the next few years.
While some states - Florida, Texas and California, primarily - have long been considered those with the most concentrated Hispanic populations, other states have seen substantial surges - Georgia, Washington State and North Carolina for example - that are likely to impact food and beverage operators.
Most importantly, pointed out Crecca, the Hispanic population's spending power is likely to increase by half - from $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion - in just five years. And while Hispanics only make up 15 percent of legal age drinkers today, that, too, will continue to grow - estimates now indicate that percentage will continue to increase nationwide - up to 18 percent by 2025, 21 percent by 2035, and so on. That's nationally; some regions will see far speedier growth. Notably, Technomic found that Hispanics are more likely to drink at a bar or restaurant than the general population, especially frequenting fast casual and family dining restaurants, where they consume frequently.
Other points worth mentioning - they are big beer drinkers, especially when it comes to imports and particularly Mexican brands, though they also consume domestic, light, flavored malt beverages and cider more than the general population. Corona, Heineken, Budweiser and Bud Light are their favorite brands. And they are more likely than the general population to consume rum and tequila. Surprisingly they are also more likely to have ordered wine in a restaurant in the past month than the general population.
The message was clear; ignore the habits and trends of young legal drinking age Hispanics at your peril.