On a typical day in 2013, food services businesses in the U.S. pull in $1.8 billion in sales (according to the National Restaurant Association's 2013 Restaurant Industry Pocket Factbook [PDF]). That's not too surprising when you consider LivingSocial's Dining Out Survey that found Americans dine out an average of 4.8 times a week. More and more people are opting out of cooking at home in favor of the convenience and ease of dining out.
So how can you make these figures work in your food business's favor? Let's explore some ways you can drive traffic to your business through marketing and sales techniques.
Most food business owners have an ideal customer in mind before they open their doors. But truly understanding what makes your target market tick is the key to creating messaging and advertising that resonates. After all, people like to be understood. And even better, they like doing business with folks who seem to know what they want.
First, let's discuss two basic principles that will help you get inside the mind of your ideal audience:
Demographics refer to who your customers are and what they do. This category includes information about…
American Fact Finder, a tool provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, may come in handy for compiling this kind of data about your target market.
If you want to know how you target market behaves and how they live their lives, you're looking for psychographic information. This kind of data will fill you in on…
To get a feel for the lifestyles of people in your area, you can search your zip code on Nielsen's PRIZM tool.
Small businesses succeed when they use both types of information to understand what customers want. Armed with an understanding about your target audience, you can tailor your messaging and offerings to their preferences.
Because no single food services business can appeal to all walks of life, let's take a look at some major demographics that you may decide to home in on:
Of course, there are plenty of other ways to segment your market and think about how your establishment might appeal to different groups. Please use this information only as a jumping-off point for your own research and discoveries.
Now that you have some ideas about the tastes of your audience, you can tailor the following techniques to amplify your sales:
When it comes to marketing and increasing sales, perhaps the best advice is to be consistent. Don't expect immediate results. Instead, keep your eye on the long-term goal: to build relationships with your customers and clients and win their loyalty.
Check out these articles to learn more about developing and growing your food services business: