Restaurateurs have long known that different parts of their consumer base have different needs and desires—food preferences, ambiance, the marketing methods that speak to them. Restaurateurs are devoting more attention to appealing and marketing to specific market segments, such as different ethnicities and different income levels.
As members of Generation X enter their peak earning years and Millennials become young adults with their own earning power, generational marketing is taking on greater importance.
Restaurateurs see a number of enticing targets:
The Mature Patron: Traditional Values—Sort ofThough “not acting your age” is in itself a trend, there are characteristics that consumers over the age of 40 have in common. For one thing, they tend to have “traditional values”—they like to dine in, and they value the experience of restaurant dining per se, along with good service and attractive ambiance.
Restaurants in the emerging “polished casual” sub-sector, with price point and quality level between those of casual dining and fine dining, are a big hit with this audience. Kona Grill is a good example.
Generally speaking, mature consumers:
The Younger Consumer: Restaurants Mean Something DifferentThe Younger Consumer: Restaurants Mean Something DifferentYounger people have spent their whole lives using restaurants as part of their everyday lives—just a normal way of sourcing food. They are the heaviest users of takeout, but they also use restaurants as “the third place”—comfortable locations away from home, work or school, where they can hang out, be with their friends, study or work on their laptops. Generally speaking, younger consumers:
Some restaurants take advantage of younger generations’ mania for text messaging by sending coupons and instant deals to customers who have signed up for the service. Burger King, among others, advertises the availability of information from its website for mobile-phone access—connecting to the young on their own terms. Companies are also enhancing their websites to be more information-rich, interactive and hip, with features such as games, animation and downloadable screen-savers. For the generation that loves an “in” joke, some chains have even created tongue-in-cheek “stealth” websites—Burger King’s infamous “subservient chicken” or the satirical McDonald’s “Save the McRib” campaign.
“Our Kind of Place”