Posts Tagged ‘consumer demographics’

How to Appeal to the Typical American Wine Drinker

August 8, 2014

Despite the fact that the U.S. has become the single-largest market for wine (passing France last year), American wine drinkers aren’t easy to understand. In part, this is due to the fact that there really isn’t any such thing as the “typical” American wine drinker. We come from diverse backgrounds with very different motivations for drinking wine. How then, as the restaurant owner, do you know which is the best wine to offer on the menu?

One way is to consider how customers make their choices when it comes to wine. Constellation Brands, a global wine, spirits and beer producer and marketer put out an interesting survey that breaks Americans into six groups—each with a different motivator behind their choices in wine. The results are telling, in terms of how to appeal to the American wine populace.

American Wine Drinkers Driven by Price and Habit

According to the study, price is the top consideration for 21% of American wine drinkers. The belief in this group is that a person can get great wine without paying a lot of money for it. The only way they are going to try something new on your wine menu is if it’s within the same price range as their standby favorites. These folk like to buy cheap good wine and drink a lot of it. In fact, wine accounts for 38% of their total consumption of alcoholic beverages. The other group who is unlikely to try anything new are the everyday loyals (20%) who drink wine as a regular part of their day to day routines. They know what they like and tend to stick to it. Appealing to these two groups is a matter of providing good, cost-effective wine and favorites they already know about.

Appealing to American Wine Enthusiasts and Image Seekers

Some Americans drink wine as a status symbol, others are genuine enthusiasts who love everything about the ritual and experience of wine. Both can be profitable groups for the enterprising restaurateur. For the image seekers (18%), the important thing is that the wine they are drinking makes them look good. They enjoy trendy labels and sweeter wines. The enthusiast group (12%) is more into food and wine pairings as well as new adventures in the wine tasting world. They tend toward bolder, more robust reds. Both groups appreciate knowing the back-story of the wine they drink and tend toward options on the classier “in-the-know” side of the menu.

Appealing to the American Wine Drinking Newbie and Those that Are Just Plain Overwhelmed

People’s reactions to the world of wine typically goes one of two ways—they’re either overwhelmed or intrigued. Those that are overwhelmed (19%) typically like to drink wine, but are intimidated by the complex array of options presented when trying to buy it. This group is going to get scared away from ordering wine if they don’t see something on your menu that they recognize. The group that is new to, and intrigued by, the world of wine (12%), has a different reaction. They still tend toward sweeter wines but are looking for authenticity and trying to learn about the beverages they are drinking. Like the enthusiasts, this group is going to be interested in the stories of the wine makers themselves, and are the segment most likely to buy organic and biodynamic wines.

Understanding these different groups of American wine drinkers helps the restaurateur make smart decisions about what to include on the wine list. Some restaurants will put a little something for everyone on the drink menu; others will cater to a specific type of wine drinker. What you choose for your menu is entirely dependent on who you’re trying to attract to your establishment.

Business Building Ideas for Restaurants to Try in 2014

April 18, 2014

In order to stay ahead in the restaurant business, operators have to be constantly on the lookout for new ways to build and strengthen their businesses. Creativity, flexibility and the willingness to try new things goes a long way in this industry. Here are a few business building ideas to put to use for your restaurant business in 2014.

Put All Our New Technology to Work In Your Restaurant

The restaurant industry is particularly well suited to benefit from the various new forms of technology that have arisen over the last several years. From smartphones, to tablets, to video menu boards, we now have the ability to instantly communicate with and engage our customers at a level that was never before possible. Although the success of marketing campaigns done through social media, email and text varies dramatically from business to business, there’s no doubt about it’s potential power in driving traffic, increasing sales and building loyalty. Nearly 75% of fine and casual dining operators say they plan to devote more resources to these arenas in 2014, with 60% of family dining operators saying the same thing. In all but quick-service, operators feel the next likely marketing and reputation tool will be online review sites; quick-service is favoring Twitter, smartphone apps and texting.

Building your digitally connected community of customers has an added benefit aside from just being a loyalty and brand awareness building strategy. You can also offer your customers discounts during off-peak hours as a way of getting incremental visits from your customer base. Roughly 25% of family and casual dining, and 36% of fine dining operators, are already offering this form of variable menu pricing. The lion’s share in table service believes this will be increasingly popular in the future. As discussed in a previous post, the demand is certainly there.

Look for Opportunities to Expand Your Restaurant’s Off-Premise Presence

Another business building opportunity lies in off-premise marketing. Some 56% of consumers say they would likely order delivery direct to their home or office if the option was available. Another 46% said they would use a curbside takeout from a table service restaurant. Even food trucks could represent a lucrative opportunity—70% of customers said they’d definitely be interested in visiting one if their favorite restaurant offered it. Taking your restaurant off-premise also has the added benefit of increasing your overall brand awareness.

Tap into Restaurant Retail, Travel and Tourism

Travel and tourism is another opportunity area that restaurants can take advantage of. This year stands to be a good year for the industry. International travelers alone are expected to spend over $100 billion on tourism-related goods. Money spent on eating out at restaurants will, of course, be a large percentage of that expenditure.

Restaurant retail is another interesting option to build your business. A number of restaurants have been expanding in this arena over the last few years. About one quarter are currently offering packaged food items for retail sale or have opened a grocery store section.

The take home message is that there are a number of business building opportunities out there for restaurants to take advantage of this year. The key to success lies in the operators’ ability to be creative, flexible and open to opportunity.

Greater Focus on Family Opens Opportunity for Restaurants

April 11, 2014

The last several years have seen a heightened appreciation in the populace for meaningful moments and experiences. We are focusing more on what we have and less on what we don’t. We want to give our energy to what is most important in our lives. For many people, that means family. In fact, for 62% of today’s consumers, it is a sign of success or accomplishment to be able to spend a lot of time with their families. This sentiment holds true across age groups, and while it’s stronger in females, it’s a significant feeling among males too. What’s this information have to do with the restaurant business? It’s an opportunity. Families are looking for ways to spend time with each other, and restaurants are perfectly suited to provide the setting.

Restaurant Marketing Campaigns Should Target a Broad Definition of Family

Restaurants have always been favorite gathering places for families. That part hasn’t changed since the restaurant industry began. What has changed is the definition of what people now consider to be family. It used to be that a “traditional” family meant a husband, a wife and maybe some kids. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, however, that type of family now makes up less than half of all American households today. The larger group is now composed of multi-generational households, single parent families, same-sex families, families in which the adult children still live at home, and households that consider themselves family, but are not actually related. The take home message for the restaurant operator is that marketing campaigns need to take this diversity into account and target these various demographics accordingly if they wish to truly tap into the opportunities that await in the arena of family business.

What Families Really Want from Restaurants

It’s important to remember that most people’s primary objective when they go out to eat together is to have an enjoyable experience with each other. The choice about where they go to do that is secondary. Ensuring that your restaurant provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere, where people can focus on and hear each other, goes a long way toward facilitating the meaningful experience families are looking for. Of course, family deals and discounts, platters geared toward large groups and perks for making a group reservation ahead of time go a long way too.

On Premise Service Isn’t the Only Opportunity for Restaurants Catering to Families

Providing your family patrons with a service and experience that they love doesn’t have to end on the premises. There’s a huge opportunity in take-out and delivery from family customers as well. Families that order out want to feed a lot of people without a lot of hassle. Deals that provide a full course meal which feeds multiple people are appealing, and it makes sense to have them on hand as part of your overall marketing strategy geared toward family groups.

It’s not uncommon for families to pick one restaurant in particular to return to as a group again and again for years. The experiences that have together over your food become treasured memories for the customers, and they often become some of the most loyal and best referring patrons you have. It only makes sense then, to take extra effort to ensure that your marketing plans include targeting this important demographic.

Social Media Demographics and how They Pertain to Your Restaurant Marketing Strategy

October 14, 2013

When you’re building your online marketing strategy, social media can play an important role in the overall success of your campaign. As of May 2013, 72% of American adults online are using social networking sites of one form or another. Facebook continues to pull the biggest crowd, claiming a whopping 67% of U.S. online adults, while Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram use continues to steadily rise.

That said, each different social networking site tends to draw a different demographic of users, so it’s important to understand who your primary audience is when designing your restaurant’s social media campaign.

Restaurant Social Media Strategy #1: Understand Who’s Using Social Networking Platforms

Statistically speaking, women are only slightly more likely than men to use social media (74% vs. 70% of online users). Similarly, urban dwellers are more likely than rural folk to participate in social platforms (74% vs. 69%). The 18-29 year-old age range is by far the largest group of social networkers, with some 89% utilizing social media in one form or another.

As you might expect, the percentages steadily decline as age increases with 78% aged 30-49, 60% aged 50-64, and 43% over the age of 65. In terms of race and ethnicity, Hispanics hold the greatest percentage of social media use at 80%, followed closely by African-Americans at 75% and whites at 70%. More than 75% of all social media users, regardless of demographic, have a household income of less than $30,000 a year. Being aware of these statistics helps form a more clear idea of how to target the audiences you want to bring in your door using social media.

Restaurant Social Media Strategy #2: Take a Closer Look at Who’s Using Which Forum

It’s instructive to take a closer look at exactly who is using which of the multiple social media platforms. For instance, while Facebook continues to be the most used social platform overall (with more than 2/3 of all online adults saying they have a presence there), it is especially common among the younger crowd – with the vast majority of users being under the age of 50.

While Twitter also has the largest following in the younger than 50 crowd, those between the ages of 18-29 are by far the most active. Urban residents are significantly more likely to use Twitter than those in both suburban and rural areas. Hispanics and African-Americans are actually about two times as likely to use Twitter than whites.

Pinterest, on the other hand, tends to draw more whites as well as those with higher incomes and more education. Women are also five times more likely to use Pinterest than men, which is the biggest gender difference of any social media platform.

Last but not least, Instagram seems to be most popular with those in the 18-29 age range, more so than any of the others. In fact, this group tends to be twice as active as even the next youngest age group. African-Americans are more than twice as likely to use Instagram than whites.

What All These Demographics Tell Us About Designing Restaurant Social Media Campaigns

The take away point here is that it is important to know who you are most likely to be talking to when you start your social media campaigns so that you can structure your messages accordingly. For instance, the Millennial generation (those between the ages of 18-35) tend to be drawn to coupons, deals and discounts more than any other group. They love happy hours and home delivery options, and are more likely to choose locally-owned restaurants than any other demographic.

Gen-Xers, on the other hand, (currently 36-46 years old) currently frequent restaurants more than any other age group. Time and efficiency is important to this demographic, as is pragmatism and practicality, so marketing messages that are straight-forward and direct are what will resonate most with this generation.

Understanding who is most likely to be using the various social media platforms out there helps you to create more targeted and meaningful campaigns. Taking some time to think about which demographic groups you are trying to appeal to and where you are most likely to find them, will go a long way toward the overall success of your restaurant’s social media campaign.

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Mobile Marketing a Key Opportunity for Restaurants

October 8, 2013

According to recent analytics, over 50% of all website traffic will be coming from mobile devices by the end of 2013. Furthermore, restaurants happen to be the most searched for industry on smartphones, greatly outperforming other highly searched industries. The vast majority of consumers say they often choose a restaurant based on how it shows up in search results and whether or not they are able to get the information they are looking for from their mobile devices.

When you consider that more than 56% of American adults are smartphone users (about 125 million people), these statistics highlight an important point: having a mobile-friendly website for your restaurant has become critical to your establishment’s online marketing success.

Three Main Options to Make Your Restaurant Website Mobile-Friendly

Obviously, the most critical step a restaurateur should take in creating a successful mobile marketing strategy is to have a mobile or mobile-friendly website that lets users find exactly what they’re looking for, instantaneously. There are three main ways to do this. First, you can build a ‘responsive design’ website which adjusts the layout of your content to display optimally on any device. This is a choice typically best suited for content-driven websites like blogs or publications.

Second, you could add a plug-in to your existing traditional website which will scale your content down, but won’t optimize its layout for mobile devices.

Third, you can build a separate mobile website, designed specifically for mobile screens. For businesses with a local presence like restaurants, this is often the best choice because you can streamline content that will help convert mobile searchers to actual customers. Since the odds are good that someone searching for a restaurant on a mobile device is quite likely looking for someplace to eat right now, it only makes sense to have pertinent information such as menus, prices, availability and a click-to-call button easily available for them to view.

SEO Matters More than ever in Restaurant Mobile Marketing

Search engine optimization, or SEO, has always been critical if you want to be found online. As of September of this year, it’s more important than ever because Google announced that it was going to start ‘demoting’ websites in mobile searches who don’t have a mobile site to direct people to or who have one that isn’t configured properly.

Mobile SEO is akin to traditional SEO – make sure your mobile site is optimized with the right keywords and is listed in appropriate directories such as Yelp, online Yellow Pages, Google +, etc. Make sure your listings and keyword terms are accurate and consistent.

Start Small with Restaurant Mobile Marketing Maneuvers

Developing a savvy mobile marketing strategy can be inexpensive and simple to implement. You can easily design a basic mobile website featuring your most pertinent information using templates that are readily available. Beyond having a mobile-friendly web space, you can ‘mobilize’ other marketing efforts that you’re already doing, such as birthday coupons or monthly special discounts for your online followers.

Optimize your emails to be read on mobile devices. Consider a text-marketing campaign. Add a QR code to your printed marketing materials. After you’ve done all of the above, toy with the idea of developing a snazzy app that will add extra value and enhance your customers’ experiences. Above all, do not ignore the mobile movement. It’s only going to get more prevalent and more relevant to your restaurant’s overall online marketing success. Learn more at