Know Your Ideal Customer Be A Successful Restaurant Entrepreneur
I know you can’t wait to put your exciting restaurant idea in motion!
It is a powerful endeavor and at the same time extremely risky!
How do get past the reputation that most restaurant startups eventually fail?
How do you beat the odds?
Whether you want to open one restaurant or multiple units you have to make the right decisions.
One important thing you must do to become a successful entrepreneur is to find your IDEAL customer.
Find and satisfy customers who desire what your restaurant is going to offer!
Before you jump in feet first and take your life savings with you let me give you some words of wisdom. I’ve been in your shoes and have experienced many startups.
The only way to become a successful restaurant entrepreneur is to consistently satisfy your customer’s appetite and experience.
In order to do that you have to know who they are!
You’re positive your cuisine and recipes are wonderful, you have a prime location, your decor and ambience is going to be attractive and you are going to hire a professional and caring staff.
What could possibly go wrong?
You think everyone will want to come to your restaurant.
Even if you’ve done you demographic research, don’t get me wrong statistics are valuable when getting to know your audience as a whole, but forming your restaurants “ideal customer” is hard when you have too broad of an audience.
Many failed businesses had “everybody” as their target audience.
You’ve heard this before when you target everyone, you attract no-one.
It’s ok to have more than one ideal target audience.
In fact, most restaurants will have more than one ideal customer. That’s fine.
Problems arise when you have too many “ideal customers”, you’ll have a hard time creating a menu that will satisfy everyone.
Your effort is wasted when you try to attract too many customers. The more you can target a well-defined audience, the greater success rate you will experience.
My first successful adventure in the food industry came when I found a target audience and filled a need in the lunch and catering service in the corporate business world.
After much research and visiting the Tampa Bay area and seeing a trend of companies moving their headquarters to different cities in Florida, I decided on Clearwater. I chose a location on a major thoroughfare in the heart of office parks and corporate businesses.
My business Corporate Catering-Clearwater, FL was based around feeding lunches to working class White Collar & Blue Collar customers. We delivered gourmet hot and cold entrees, salads, soups and sandwiches to meetings, workshops, events, holiday celebrations and individual lunches to businesses in the surrounding area of Clearwater and St. Petersburg.
We specialized in off-premise catering for the area businesses and individual lunch takeout and deliveries to companies in the area. It not only fed individuals quality lunches it gave businesses the opportunity to keep their employees from leaving their offices or buildings creating less disruption from the work flow.
We made local employees and businesses happy with our food and convenience.
Are “ideal customer”, working people in small offices, industrial buildings and standalone corporate companies.
The first thing we did was clearly define WHO our ideal customer was going to be.
I researched where they were eating lunch, who they were ordering from and how frequent. I found my competition and what types of menus and services they were offering. I also saw what they weren’t offering their customers and realized what I needed to do to attract them.
I created a healthier, more diverse gourmet lunch and catering menus. The kinds of food selections they would only get at sit down restaurants and developed an efficient delivery service to bring those meals right to their businesses and desks!
After almost five years I sold Corporate Catering for a profit that enabled me to pursue another business ownership opportunity.
It would not have been possible had I not found my “ideal customer”!
How To Create An Accurate “Ideal Customer” Profile For Your Restaurant
Understanding who makes an ideal customer allows you to build your entire restaurant’s, menu, services, and message around attracting and serving a defined customer group.
Let’s start with following research methods.
Demographics include gender, age, income, marital status, educational background and occupation.
Where do your customers live? Not just the location, but what kind of homes do they live in?
Basic social information on the person’s family, children and friends.
This will give you information on your customer’s personality type. You need to list down the customer’s interest, hobbies, likes, dislikes, what food he likes, what sports he watches, who his favorite team is, etc.
Identify any behavior patterns of your customers. Could be anything from the way they eat, the forms of payment they use or just their general behavior.
Where are the places your customers hang out at? From competitor restaurants, to the malls to the clubs, find them out. And don’t forget to know where they are present online.
How do you get the information?
The easiest and most direct way is through surveys. You can have online and offline surveys You also should observe possible competitors . Do you find more family or friends groups entering their restaurant? Can you tell by their clothing whether they are college going, employed, or entrepreneurs? What do you hear them talk about?
Every little detail that you add to your ideal customer profile, no matter how meaningless, will help you in the future.
Want to learn more about finding your “ideal restaurant customer” click here.