Before you attempt to open your own restaurant, having a solid idea of who you want to market to is important. Trying to open up an upscale restaurant in a lower-class community just isn’t going to cut it. You’ll end up out of business before you can get it jump-started. To help figure out who your target customer is, here is a quick overview:
- Generation Y: These are the millennials that we keep hearing so much about. This generation was born between 1980 and 2000. They’re ethnically diverse and consist of three times the amount of the gen X population. Gen Y should definitely be in your target list if you want to be profitable for many years to come. Numbers show that 25% of their food choices involve burgers and 12% consist of pizza.
- Generation X: Consists of the folks born between 1965 and 1980. They’re known for valuing family and are most likely to eat at restaurants that focus on family meals and offer quick service and have mid-scale operations.
- Baby boomers: These individuals were born between 1946 and 1964 and make up majority of the American population. These are typically affluent individuals who can afford eating out at upscale eateries. They are more willing to spend money. In the 80s, they enjoyed eating at trendy restaurants. Now that they are reaching old age, they are more likely to have grandchildren, which shifts their focus on family-friendly restaurants, with an upscale, formal dining twist.
- Empty nesters: These individuals are the older baby boomers and seniors who have grown-up children. They don’t have any children living at home (hence the term empty nester). They aren’t as concerned with price and tend to care more about great food and excellent service. Sophistication and elegance are their top choices for restaurants.
- Seniors: Finally, anyone aged 65 and older are considered seniors. These individuals typically live on a fixed income and are unable to eat at upscale restaurants. They lean more towards family-type restaurants that offer reasonable prices. Younger seniors tend to be more active and have more money to spend than the older population. They are savvy shoppers, and will look for deals like early-bird specials and senior discounts.
Once you have identified your customer, be savvy about shopping for the perfect furnishings. You might find a great piece of art that would appeal to senior citizens, or technological gadgets (i.e. virtual menu) for Generation Y-ers. Since those purchases can be a bit pricy, cut down on costs of essentials like menu covers, take out bags, and napkin rings by finding coupons or shopping at stores like Restaurant Discount Warehouse. Keep advertising costs low by taking advantage of free marketing opportunities on social media, or by building relationships with other businesses in the area.
So put your creativity to the test and have fun opening your restaurant!