Chicago/Press Release -- Restaurant visits by families with kids (those including children under age 13) have been declining since 2008, reports The NPD Group.  Families  with kids made 1 billion fewer visits to U.S. restaurants over the past six years, compared to 306 million fewer visits by adult-only parties, finds a new NPD foodservice market research report.

Restaurant visits by families, which represent $83.7 billion or 20% of total restaurant sales, have dropped across all segments and meal periods, with supper hit especially hard, according to NPD’s Parties with Kids: Motivating More Visits report. Full-service restaurants experienced the majority of the visits losses, accounting for 70% of all declines from 2008 to 2013. Traffic losses were observed for both lower- and higher-income households.

A weakened economy factors into the visit declines, but the NPD report also finds that there are other barriers limiting families from dining out. Among them are value for the money and restaurant environment. The age of the child plays a role in which barriers inhibit families with kids’ restaurant visits.

“In order to bring back parties with kids to the restaurant table, operators and manufacturers need to understand what influences and motivates them to visit,” says Bonnie Riggs, NPD foodservice industry analyst. “They need to keep in mind that kids are also an important audience since they have considerable influence on restaurant selections.”