The restaurant industry is full of long inherited tricks of the trade, but none is more useful than knowing your customer. Think about it. If you could know what someone wanted before they asked for it. Now, imagine that Someone is your true blue customer.
New technology sprinkled in with some great marketing techniques and a side of experimentation using analytics allows you to have the magic power to know your customer. Personalizing the restaurant menu is a luxury every successful restaurant of the future will be offering. You can get ahead of the trend if you know your customer.
1. Know your Customer by doing Demographic Research
Wondering where to begin when learning how to research marketing demographics? You can start by thinking of your product. If you don’t have a product or even if you do, understand the idea you are selling. No matter what you sell, you sell an idea of how your business makes people feel. If you have to wait a long time at a car service station and feel gypped when you get the bill, you aren’t going to enjoy going to get your oil change. In that case, you will put off getting your car service. Which is bad for everyone.
If your business makes people feel taken care of they will come back often. Now, think of the ideal type of person that would enjoy your service.
- What are their interests?
- What environment do they enjoy?
- How old are they?
You can get really specific on who your customers are by doing demographic research. If you know their interests, behavior, age, gender, and location you can use that information when you create an audience for Facebook Ads. Although you might not be able to pinpoint all of this information by just thinking about what they like to do, you have something to go off of.
Make a prediction of who your audience is. We do this using customer persona. A customer persona is a tool for getting to know your customer creating a description of who your ideal individual customer is. Your customer persona is the perfect customer. A customer persona contains a name, age, description, story, interest, and problem. When building your business, who were you building it for?
How to Build Customer Personas and Customer Segments
If you build a skincare brand for high school students with bad acne, you can answer how old they are. You know they live near a high school or go to school online. Speaking of online, where do high school students hang out online? Off the top of your head you're thinking Tiktok, Instagram, you might even get specific with apps or websites. You’re heading toward what is it that will get a high schooler's attention. But the main idea is, a lot of high school students are struggling with and may even be insecure about their acne. Something to keep in mind when working on your marketing campaign.
You could get more specific with who your target audience is, but if you at least know how old they are, where they spend their time, at least one interest, and how old they probably are you could create digital marketing campaigns that will target your audience.
Once you start running campaigns you will begin to gather data. This is when things start to get serious. Many of the platforms your business uses can give you insights on your following like Facebook and Instagram. Use the collective information you gather from experiments like A/B testing emails and ads to fine-tune what you know about your customers.
Once you have a bit more information on your customers as a whole you can begin to pick them apart and group them into customer segments. Having a few customer segments will help you target one or two segments at a time instead of trying to make content that speaks to every single person your business could help. You are narrowing down who you want to target. A customer segment is a way of describing an ideal group of people based on a range of characteristics. Segment A could be 45-50 years old. They are all farmers who live in rural areas and listen to country music on the radio. Segment B is made up of 40-45-year-old suburban dwellers that enjoy taking care of their cars. They listen to 80s music on the radio. If you are selling power washers you don’t want to miss out on either segment so you make an advertisement for New Country 96.3 and iHeart80s Radio. Not just one advertisement. You will need creative for each segment using what you know about the segment to get their attention.
A restaurant owner can use demographic information to make advertisements that target their customer segments, but they can also think about their customers' palate.
2. Know your Customers Food Preferences
If you know your customers' food preferences you can serve them better. Better service makes people feel comfortable and people will want to return to that comfort. By letting customers make adjustments to a recipe based on their preferences, you are offering a form of personalization. Servers might have a hard time satisfying customers' requests to make substitutions or omissions because they would have to memorize the ingredients of each dish on the menu. Even the best servers forget to tell the cook to leave out the cheese every now and then. What if the customer was lactose intolerant and they bit into a cheeseburger that was only supposed to be a burger? What if that customer was on a date? Do you think they would ever want to return to that restaurant?
“Customers, who prefer to buy organic food” is an example of what basic of market segmentation? It’s a psychographic descriptor. Knowing the personality, lifestyles, attitudes, and class of your customers comes from psychographic research. You can learn more about the psychographics of your customers by conducting your own studies based on their customers you already know. Ask your customers to complete a survey that answers these questions. You can incentivize the completion of these stories or make them super easy to complete. For example, use QR codes or NFC technology to ask your customers to complete surveys or leave reviews when they check out.
Palatable uses AI technology to understand your customer’s palate. By doing so, the app can give the user food recommendations. The app also allows your chef to make food both using their own expertise along with the app knowledge. It’s as if your waiter memorized the whole menu backward and forwards, then interviewed the customer on every allergen, restriction, and preference they have. Even better when trends change, you can stay up to date on changes in customer food preferences because the AI technology continues to learn every time the user uses the app.
3. Have Good Timing by Knowing your Customer
You know when your partner gets off work so you know when they usually will be home on Tuesday. In turn, you know when is the best time to schedule a surprise party for them and how much time you have to get everything in place and be ready by the time they get home. When you know your customer you can have good timing. If you know your customer’s occupation, you can know about when their lunch break is. If you know some of your customers like to go golfing on Saturday, you have an idea of where they are and you could predict when they will quit and be ready to eat dinner. You also know they only way you could reach them would be with their phone.
- Text message campaigns can take advantage of good timing. What if you send your customer a coupon right when they start thinking about lunch? To start SMS marketing, you must first begin collecting phone numbers. You could do this at check out or get creative with some digital marketing CTAs.
- Apps are capable of launching well-timed notifications as well. They don’t require that you ask for phone numbers because they have their own logins and permissions that users can opt-in for.
- Chatbots have the best timing because they are always available. If your website has a chatbot it can take care of customer service, place an order, or give directions automatically. Here are 9 of the best uses of chatbots for restaurants.
We go back to our data to know the best time to send a marketing email, text message, or notification. As a restaurant owner, you can create automated campaigns that launch around the best time to eat food. That time may not be the same for everyone which is why you utilize customer segments to target segments at unique times optimized for their lifestyles.
4. Know what Motivates your Customer
As you begin learning more about your customers you can start to experiment with what motivates them. Implement this knowledge in your marketing campaigns and watch your ROI sore. Discovering your customers' motivation is the best way to create engaging digital marketing campaigns for your restaurant. We get to know our customers so we can speak their language and serve them best. We draw them to us because we make our customers feel something enjoyable.
As a restaurant owner, one of your main interests should be how to motivate your customers to come to your restaurant. A good place to start when using digital marketing is by creating a great digital menu. Make your digital menu user-friendly and impactful so customers want to browse your menu when thinking about ordering for your restaurant. By seeing colorful photos of their favorite dishes and easily placing an order you are motivating them to complete the process of getting take out from your restaurant.
The more you know your customer, the deeper you can use your knowledge to reach them and even motivate them to come to you. By partnering with Palatable, you will have access to tools and insights that let you learn more about your customers, reach a larger audience, and marketing to them based on data gathered from AI technology. Contact Us to learn more about how knowing your customer can drive online orders or email our head of sales, Tim, at email@example.com