Target Marketing for Restaurants


Your marketing strategy should attract the customers that you want in your restaurant. As opposed to mass marketing, which aims its advertising and promotions to a general majority of consumers, target marketing focuses on attracting a specific type of customer.

Market Segmentation

You probably already know what kinds of customers you want in your restaurant, but it is important to tailor your promotions to these specific consumer groups. Different market segments – or groups of customers with similar characteristics and needs – will respond to different types of marketing strategies, so you should make sure to gear your promotional techniques toward the segments you want.

Usually, you will need to target customers based on their income. This allows businesses to adjust the pricing of menu items according to their customers’ disposable income levels. However, you may also choose to develop promotional strategies that target one or more the following segments:

You can choose the best promotional techniques for your restaurant by honing your marketing strategy to attract specific groups of customers like the ones listed above.

Attracting the Wrong Customers

Even if your business is already in operation, you need to keep assessing your customer base and ask yourself if your marketing is really pulling in the customers you want to target. If not, your marketing techniques are failing. Your strategy could be problematic for one of the following reasons:

Location is off.

Perhaps you are not in the right location to attract the kind of customers you want. Always remain up-to-date with the demographics. Keep in mind that demographics, attitudes and trends in your area can change, and your restaurant needs to change with them or move to another place. » Learn more about restaurant demographics

Concept misses the mark.

It is possible that your concept is failing to attract the customers you want. For example, an ice cream shop that is run near a university in hopes of attracting the student population may overlook the recent frozen yogurt craze that is sweeping through campus. It is not necessarily too late to make some changes. This problem could be fixed by adjusting the concept to include frozen yogurt products, and then marketing the new products to the students with coupons or other promotions.

Attracting the wrong demographic.

It is possible that you are accidentally attracting the wrong customers. For example, Chuck E. Cheese targets children and families, but in recent years has seen a lot of teenage customers at the restaurants’ arcades. This has caused numerous problems, including several brawls that have broken out, driving away the very families that the restaurant hopes to attract. To combat this problem, several Chuck E. Cheeses have chosen to implement new policies, like refusing service to anyone that is under the age of 18 without a parent or guardian present. It is also possible that you are using the wrong promotional techniques. Always make sure that you are using the right promotions for your target market.

Choosing Complementary Segments

If your business is attracting many of the customers you want but is still struggling, you could try targeting a secondary segment of the population. You could focus on one segment during the lunch hour and another during dinner. Or you could try to attract multiple types of customers at once, since many segments go hand-in-hand and would complement each other well as customers.

Avoid customers that clash.

Some segments may not go well together. For example, if you run a formal restaurant that is known for its elegance, you may be attracting a lot of empty nesters. It is probably not wise to begin marketing yourself to families and children, since the associated noise and atmosphere could drive away your existing business. Any time you choose to target a new segment with your marketing, be sure to consider the consequences on your existing customer base.

If you have the right location and concept, and you choose a good target market and the best promotional techniques for that segment, your restaurant will be far more likely to succeed. When accompanied with proper restaurant management and operation, a good target marketing strategy will make a considerable difference in your profits.


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