Just as customers have a choice of different restaurant styles, restaurateurs can choose from a variety of marketing strategies that appeal to different types of customers. Most restaurants target specific markets or demographics and already have an idea of what their customers like, but by adding new marketing and promotional techniques, restaurateurs can attract new customers to their establishment.
Types of customers
The types of restaurant customers can vary depending on who goes there and what they do. Some cater to groups of people, such as families with children, singles or “empty nests”. Other types of restaurant patrons can be broken down into age groups, including seniors, young adults, or students. Locations can group restaurant-goers into types, such as business for downtown restaurants or tourists for locations near attractions. Sports enthusiasts, environmentalists, vegetarians, and music lovers are examples of interests that can bring restaurant customers together. Restaurants can also target different service times, such as the lunch crowd, happy hour, or late-night dining.
Restaurant Marketing Basics
Income level should be one of the main considerations for marketing a restaurant, regardless of the type of customer the restaurant is targeting. Part of how a restaurant markets to customers depends on the food it serves or the atmosphere it provides. Only sports fans are likely to support a sports bar, for example. Restaurant owners need to consider location when marketing, as most rely on customers who live or work within three miles of its location. Marketing to different customer segments means identifying the types of media that reach them. Often it is quite obvious. Ads on social media aren’t the best way to lure older diners to an early-bird special, and ads on easy-listening radio probably won’t help attract the college happy hour crowd. .
Word of mouth
“Word of mouth”, also called frequency marketing, is one of the most authentic forms of marketing. Most restaurants derive a third of their profits from loyal customers. By providing excellent food and service and creating the right atmosphere, restaurants can encourage more loyal customers, who will then spread the word. Increasing your popularity can attract media attention and, with it, potential new customers. Additionally, menu changes, chef specials, and other food promotions are often overlooked marketing tools, especially for regulars who are already familiar with the restaurant’s food and service.
Other Marketing Ideas
Contests are a popular way to attract new customers, as is hosting events that cater to their interests. Some restaurants will market their take-out service to help expand its customer base. By committing to going green, a restaurant can not only attract the growing number of environmentally conscious customers, but if done right, can also reduce energy costs and improve competitiveness. Additionally, restaurateurs need to be aware of targeting their marketing to the intended audience. For example, a family restaurant may not want to promote two-for-one pitchers of beer to college students. If the rambunctious college kids come, they’ll likely drive out the families that support the restaurant.
Biography of the writer
Terry Lane has been a journalist and writer since 1997. He has both covered and worked for members of Congress and helped lawmakers and executives publish editorials in the Wall Street Journal, National Journal and the Politico”. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Florida.