Who are your customers? This might seem like an obvious question that's easy to answer. However, the answer you give directly impacts how you run your restaurant—from ingredients, pricing, and menu items, all the way to marketing strategies and rewards programs. This article discusses four key questions you need to ask to understand your customers (while ensuring it positively impacts your bottom line).
Why Understanding Your Customer Base Matters (A Lot)
Understanding who your customers are will shape your business's strategies and tactics to remain profitable and successful. It also provides your restaurant with the opportunity to establish its identity and stand out. Don't allow your pizzeria to fall into the typical messaging of "offering premium ingredients at low prices"—your brand is so much more than that, so be sure to set your restaurant apart by identifying and catering to what your customers want.
Who Is Your Ideal Customer?
First, it's important that you understand your target customer. You may already have a strong idea of who they are, however, it may shift over time. Age range, location, spending habits, and menu trends are all factors in considering what makes them the perfect patron. Be sure to pay attention to all those factors—any assumptions could lead to costly mistakes.
Here's an example: a pizzeria located in a trendy part of town might target young adults and offer vegan options curated from locally-sourced ingredients. The restaurant owner carefully researched age range, location, and taste preferences, but didn't consider the spending trends of this demographic. Although a hip and trendy location, the patrons in this area cook from home most nights and only go out for a meal periodically due to a limited budget.
Why Are They Your Target?
Understanding what makes them your ideal customer is crucial. Think about some of the biggest goals of your business and how your customers contribute to that plan. For example, are they the most likely to become return customers or purchase larger order sizes (and drive sales)? Perhaps you're looking to break into a new market, and your ideal customer helps you seamlessly make that transition. No matter the case, it's essential that you understand the reasoning behind your decision.
How Are You Catering To Them?
Now that you've identified your ideal customer and how they fit into your overall business strategy, you must understand what they want and determine how you can cater to their unique preferences. For example, if your pizzeria is near a university, you might consider adjusting your hours to run later into the evening or offer discounts designed to target low-budget students. In contrast, if your pizzeria is known for being a family establishment, Family Meal Deals and kids options will be necessary, whereas being open late won't present nearly as much value. Market your business on the platforms your customers use most—your website, social media, flyers, or TV ads.
Who Are Your Biggest Competitors?
Your customer base could quickly become scarce if there are three restaurants on the block with the same target demographic. Research other pizza restaurants in the area and understand their customer base to see what attributes overlap and if there are any unanticipated gaps. Perhaps very few locations target a certain income bracket or age group. Think about if your restaurant can fit these unmet needs as a way to further differentiate yourself from the competition. Give patrons a reason to try your restaurant while proactively avoiding any deal breakers.
Defining your customer base isn't just for new restaurant owners. As markets evolve, restaurant owners need to continuously research their patrons. Understand why customers are drawn to your brand and stay knowledgeable on how you can better cater to these customers while also looking for opportunities. With these questions and practices in mind, you can remain confident that your restaurant's brand will stand out, attract customers, and drive sales.
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Posted on Thu, Dec 01, 2022 @ 08:12 AM.
Updated on December 1, 2022 @ 4:00 PM PST.