Any successful restaurant venture requires a well-thought-out marketing plan – it’s something you should have in place before you start any marketing initiatives. When creating your restaurant’s marketing plan, you’ll need to bear lots of things in mind, such as your budget and competitors. But most importantly, your target market has to be #1 front of mind.

When you get down to it, marketing is all about behavioural psychology. This is why it’s so important for restaurant owners to understand who their target market is, what their values and tastes are, and how they spend their money. Let’s dive into why knowing your target market is essential for your restaurant’s marketing plan – and some examples of how to map this out.

What should a restaurant marketing plan cover?

Simply put, your restaurant marketing plan will describe how you’re going to promote your brand and acquire new customers. It shouldn’t just be a vague, general strategy – your plan should include:

Your target market will inform pretty much every aspect of your restaurant marketing strategy. All your advertising materials (such as online ad campaigns, print media and collaborations with other businesses) must be tailored specifically to the type of customer your restaurant wants to reach. Your strongest competitors will be top of the list when your target market chooses a place to eat – that is, until your restaurant comes along!

This is why having a clear target market is so important – the more specific, the better. When your marketing speaks to your target audience really well, you can improve both your sales and customer loyalty in the long term.

Identifying your target market

Your target market is the group of people that you want to reach with your restaurant’s marketing efforts. Once you’ve identified who you want filling the seats of your restaurant, it becomes much easier to tailor your messaging and communications to them.

For best results, be as specific as possible when identifying your dream target customer. Think about what they like and dislike, what their daily routines are, what motivates them and how you can best reach them. A common strategy is to actually build a profile of a fictional person – right down to their habits, needs, goals and technology. Here’s an example of a target market profile for an upmarket café:

Siobhan, 34: the upper-middle-class millennial mum
Thinking about behaviours

Once you have identified who you’re targeting with your restaurant marketing strategies, the next step is to think about their behaviour and preferences when dining out. Are they prioritising value, convenience or quality? Are they typically eating out with a partner, alone or with friends? What type of restaurants do they usually frequent? And crucially – how do they choose where to eat?

Understanding these things will help you tailor campaigns towards an audience that want what you have to offer. For example, if people in your target market prioritise convenience, then focusing on promoting delivery services could be beneficial for reaching them.

Example: Siobhan, 34

The upper-middle-class millennial mum

Let’s take our earlier example of Siobhan (the target market profile of an upmarket café), and generate some restaurant marketing ideas based on her values and behaviours. This isn’t a complete restaurant marketing plan, but brainstorming ideas like this is a great place to start!

Example: Jack, 19

The Gen-Z student on a budget

This target market profile is for an affordable sandwich van near to a university campus. Here are some ways this business could market their business to someone like Jack:

Example: Sofía, 27

The tech-savvy tourist

This target market profile is for a British restaurant operating near a tourist hotspot. It’s not on the main strip, so foot traffic is relatively low – it needs to entice tourists through other channels, and by offering something a little more. Here are some ideas for how this restaurant business can draw in Sofía:

In conclusion

When it comes to developing an effective restaurant marketing plan, having a detailed understanding of your target market and their behaviours is absolutely essential. The more specific you can be, from their age and spending habits right down to their tastes, the better. Because then, you’ll understand exactly how to reach them.

The restaurant industry is competitive. But when your brand’s messaging really resonates with the diners you want, that’s when they’ll choose your establishment over another one down the street. Know your target market inside-out, and you’ll be able to build an effective marketing strategy tailored specifically to them. Then, all that’s left is to give them a great experience – which is when patrons turn into loyal customers!

Are you a restaurant owner struggling to identify who your target market should be? Or do you know who you want to reach, but not sure how? With rising energy and food costs, it’s never been more essential to invest in effective marketing. We can help boost your restaurant’s gross profit and customer retention rate.Book your free, no-obligation call with our expert team today.

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