Marketing Your Restaurant to Parents


Your restaurant marketing strategy can benefit from marketing to what cited in 2009 as the “$2.1 trillion Mommy Market.” (Source) This market encompasses a cross-generational community with mixed economic backgrounds and it isn’t necessarily all female. The family demographic is changing and how a restaurant advertises to parents is changing too. Understandably, marketing to a target this large is intimidating. However, this is only a first impression. Once your food service business begins focusing on the current trends, you can achieve successful advertising with great rewards.

Let’s take a closer look at how to accomplish an effective marketing campaign. First, it is essential to work with the resources that parents are using. This grasps the attention of your target audience in the places where they are looking for information. Next, sharpen the main focus of your advertising message and become part of the conversation. Bring this back to the resources you are using such as websites, blogs and smart phone apps, to highlight the added value and time-saving benefits of your menu.

Become Part of the Conversation

Parents are talking to each other about what deals they found, what products they love and what new find has brought the most value to their house and budget. This includes dining options. Get into their networks and become a part of the conversation.

  • Seek out community fundraising opportunities for schools or children’s recreational activities. Community support is important to many parents and they are looking for businesses that are aligned with what matters to them.
  • Search online for where “mommy or daddy meet ups” are happening. Often these groups are looking for a fun new place to meet up for coffee, lunch or a parent’s night out. Invite these groups to your restaurant and offer a “parent’s afternoon or night off” with small plates and beverage specials.
  • Go online and read through forums where parents are talking. Websites such as Cafemom are very active in discussing what matters most to growing families. Type in the word “restaurant” in the search field and see what people are buzzing about. Incorporate any common themes into your menu or service and advertise the fun new changes or specials.

Be Succinct

Cut to the chase and communicate your offering in a clear and concise manner. Long sales pitches are lost on parents with limited time. Show them the great price and the delicious food offered.

  • Use show versus tell advertising.
  • Advertise with short but clear messaging, “Got Veggies? Fun and Healthy Kid’s Meal for $3.99”

Create a Presence Online

Restaurant websites are a vital component of keeping your business in direct competition with area dining choices. The easier you are to find, the better you can service customers. Consider the following strategies to attract busy and selective moms and dads:

  • Showcase healthy, but fun options for children’s meals.
  • Display a clear menu that is smart phone compatible.
  • Provide your contact information and address on each page of your menu or website.
  • Link your address to an online mapping service such as Google Maps for instant point and click directions.

Cell Phone Apps

Parents today are able to receive and provide communication at lightning speed. Like any savvy consumer, they are armed with smart phones and tablets to tap into countless Wi-Fi Internet connections on a moment’s notice. Grabbing their attention requires providing information in places where they will have the easiest access.

  • Create an app with online ordering capabilities. This will enable busy parents to order and pick up meals between engagements.
  • Advertise your app. Place a small flyer in each take out meal, and on your website or social media outlet.

Help Save Time and Money

As mentioned previously, when marketing to parents the focus should remain on value and time saving benefits. Create a marketing strategy that showcases how your menu and service will help them have a smoother day.

  • Focus on value in menu descriptions.
  • Offer take-and-bake items that can be purchased assembled and require only a short baking time prior to serving.
  • Highlight fast service and time-saving options, such as apps, online ordering, takeout or delivery availability.

Find a loyal customer base and cater to the parents in your area. Market your restaurant as a caring, friendly and accessible business that provides value and variety for busy families. Keep your reputation positive and remain engaged and on trend with what moms and dads are looking for when making dining options.


About Author

Maggie Henderson

Maggie once gained five pounds in pursuit of the perfect Indian dal recipe. When she isn't cooking, she spends her days as a marketer and her nights and weekends blogging, taking pictures and chasing after her son and dog.

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