Your comprehensive guide for starting a restaurant

Determining Your Target Market

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A restaurant cannot be all things to all people. When designing the concept for your restaurant, think about which market you want to target. Decide what kind of customers you want to serve. Each type of customer has different needs.

Categorizing customer groups by age is a common method for segmenting your target market for your restaurant.

Generation Y – This generation is also known as the “millennial generation” or “echo boomers” and includes those born between 1980 and 2000. Ethnically diverse and young, members of Generation Y tend to go for fast-food and quick service items, such as burger franchises and pizzerias. They are more familiar with communications, media and digital technologies than other generations. A restaurant that targets this group would want to use internet and digital marketing to effectively reach out to this group.

Generation X – Born between 1961 and 1981, this group is known for their strong family values. They grew up during the 1973 oil crisis, the early 1980’s recession and the savings and loan crisis, which have implanted a sense of economic uncertainty in them. Members of this generation tend to focus heavily on their family and children. They seek value when dining out and have a preference for casual dining and quick service operations. Restaurants that offer kid-friendly menus and comfortable atmosphere tend to appeal to this generation.

Baby Boomers – Making up the largest segment of the US population, this generation is a prime target for many mid-scale and upscale restaurants. Born between 1946 and 1964, this generation tends to be more affluent and can afford to eat at many of the casual dining or fine dining operations. Many have grown children and have higher disposable income. Some have grandchildren and prefer restaurants that offer a family-friendly setting.

Seniors - A senior generally refers to someone who is 65 or older. Seniors tend to have a fixed income and cannot afford to eat at upscale restaurants often. They tend to prefer family-style restaurants that offer reasonable prices and good service. Seniors also appreciate special offerings such as early-bird specials and senior menus.

There are many other ways to categorize different types of customer segments, such as gender, income, race and lifestyle. Whichever way you want to categorize your customers, make sure to select a target group and conduct research on their likes and dislikes.

One of the biggest mistakes that restaurants make is try to appeal to everyone. It is important for restaurants to define a specific target market and focus their concept and marketing to appeal to that particular audience.

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