On what assumption do you plan to start a food business ? or let me put it this way, what makes you believe that your restaurant will succeed? It’s probably your view that the service your restaurant provides has enough demand in the market to boost your sales and generate profit, in short a firm belief you have a solid restaurant target market to buy your services.
The demand forecast is a crucial part of every business, and it’s no different for a restaurant. Prospective clients are a source of demand for the restaurant. A subset of these prospective clients will show a particular appeal for your restaurant and form the core of repeat clients; such subset demography is called the “target market”. A successful restaurant always plans its marketing strategy based on the aspiration and desires of this target market.
A service developed keeping in mind this target market is known as a niche. Even though the F&B industry in India has tremendous growth opportunities, it is a competitive business. Creating a niche helps you focus your marketing strategy on this well-defined market and design products for them, but this does not mean that you ignore other target groups. Niche marketing is a cost-effective, affordable and efficient way of reaching potential clients and generating business.
Ways to determine your restaurants target market:-
Ideally, before you start your food business, you need to do some homework like fundamental market analysis, to define your target market:-
Your local competitors will be the first-hand information source for the type of customers visiting the restaurant. The first step in doing competitor analysis will be to identify your competitors’, the ones that sell similar food if not the same. Analyse the pricing in the menu, the kind of prince range they charge for the main course, side dishes and the drinks. Along with the pricing, also analyse the location of the restaurant’s is it Malls, financial districts or residential areas. The kind of dining, if casual or formal, type of music played etc., also needs to be observed.
Once you analyse a few of these traits, you will know the demographic visiting the restaurants. Based on the above observations, you will get an idea if your restaurant will resonate with the existing crowd or if making some changes can attract a new set of the group which has not been catered yet.
Research your areas demography:-
Do some research on the demography of the location where you intend to open your restaurant. Do your basic location research, such as the number of colleges in the area, proximity to corporate enclaves, or residential locality. Does the locality have an open all night policy? If yes, the place can become a magnet for nightlife enjoying crowds.
If the restaurant’s location is in the city centre, then limit the audience of your study to a few kilometres. In the case of suburbs, you can survey a wider target radius.
Research already existing customers:-
If your restaurant is already in operation, you can research your clients by asking them to fill up a survey form. You will be able to gather a lot of data, like the average age of the client coming to your restaurant. Once you get the data, you can analyse them based on various criteria. Do the younger crowd tend to arrive in the late evening? What kind of dish do they order ?. There can be other questions like the kind of music they like etc.
Ideally, survey forms are provided in bill folders and presented along with the food invoice. To entice the clients to fill in the survey, you can offer them discounts or coupons. One additional benefit of survey forms is collecting details like email id and phone numbers and sending promotions.
Visualising a client persona:-
The information you have collected from the survey and competitor analysis creates two client persona, namely primary and secondary persona—divide personals based on demographic and behavioural traits. Demographic details include age, income, spending habits etc. behaviour patterns include personality traits and personal preference.
Once you divide the primary and the secondary persona of the client, decide on the psychographic factors which trigger the emotions of the client, like motivation to spend and feelings that trigger the client to go out and eat rather than just considering the external factors like the price of product and quality of service.
Brainstorming in this direction will help you visualise the client’s persona and help you better spend on marketing on this core segment.
Periodic evaluation of the restaurant target market:-
The target market is not static; it changes with factor-like demography, food trends, competition, and technology. Ideally, the food business should analyse the target market every year as per the market condition.
A restaurant has to be flexible with its primary and secondary target market and make a marketing strategy accordingly.
A restaurant target market analysis can impact your restaurant business in many ways. It can help you make a balanced decision in choosing the food business’s location, theme, and menu pricing.