How Restaurant Operators Can Unlock Key Segments and Reach New Audience Demographics

Knowing who your customers are is critical to running a successful restaurant. When you can identify and target key demographic and audience segments, you can tailor your marketing, messaging, and offerings to attract more of your ideal customers. Analyzing your current customer base and catering your offering to their needs gives you an edge over your competition.

How Restaurant Operators Can Unlock Key Segments and Reach New Audience Demographics

Gather Data on Who Your Customer Is:

1. Analyze Your Current Customers

Start by looking at your current guest demographic within your restaurant. Examine reservation data, customer loyalty programs, and POS reports to gain insights into the demographics like age, gender, location and psychographics like interests and values of existing customers. See what patterns emerge that define your segments.

2. Get Customer Feedback

Ask your customers directly for feedback through surveys, conversations and online reviews. Find out how they heard about you, why they chose your restaurant, and what keeps them coming back. Additionally, constructive feedback like what customers hoped to see on your menu or during the dining experience, allows you to implement new ideas and cater to this missed opportunity.

3. Consider Your Location

Your geography and location provide natural audiences. If you’re near colleges or office parks, appeal to students and workers. For tourism zones, target out-of-town guests. Residential areas make families and locals your segments. Use research tools like guest surveys and market reports to better understand your local area. Look for population size, age distribution, household behaviors, occupation, income ranges and more. Cross-reference this with your current customers to find overlaps.

4. Monitor Your Digital Analytics

Analytics from your website, email campaigns, social media and online ads can shed light on the best responding demographics and interests. Track engagement metrics around age, gender, location, keywords and more to see patterns emerge from your digital channels.

Identify Growth Opportunities:

Now that you have a solid understanding of your core demographic, it’s time to uniquely position yourself within the local area. Here are some opportunities to explore:

  • Focus on underserved food and beverage options in the area that speak to your target segment

  • Highlight speciality diets of your target segment and offer these food and beverage alternatives

  • Engage your audience with an experience that speaks to their wants and needs. If your restaurant is packed with families, offer a kid-friendly activity such as coloring, in-house play dough, etc. If your customer base is filled with college students, play today’s hottest music and offer a value menu.

  • Spotlight local ingredients

  • Use social media and influencer marketing! Leverage this form of outreach to appeal to a certain lifestyle or demographic, and collaborate with them to promote your restaurant.

  • Expand your beverage menu and bar program! Craft cocktails especially appeal to the after-work crowd while specialty lemonades and the like are a great family-friendly option.

By understanding your customer demographics, wants, and needs, you are equipped to serve them and bring in new customers in this segment. The key is finding an unmet need in your market and tailoring your restaurant’s offerings, marketing and operations to serve that audience segment better than competitors.