Why You Should Care About Restaurant Customer Demographics

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5 min read

Sep 15, 2022

Why You Should Care About Restaurant Customer Demographics

To run a successful business, you need to know who your customers are.

When you understand your customers, you can better serve their needs, and keep them coming back for more. Restaurant customer demographics are critical to getting to know your guests. Data like age, gender, income and dining habits can help inform your food options, service and business plan.

What Are Customer Demographics?

Demographics are statistical data about groups within a particular population. Customer demographics, therefore, are data about customers. Examples of customer demographics include income, gender, spending habits, work industry and education level.

Why Should Restaurants Care About Customer Demographics?

When you gather data about your customers, you can find trends in their behaviors and better understand them. When you understand your customers, you can do things like provide impeccable service, target them with personalized marketing offers that they’ll be more likely to take advantage of, and fine tune your business strategy to keep them coming back.

Which Customer Demographics Should Restaurants Care About?

So, which restaurant customer demographics should you be paying attention to? Here are several to keep front of mind:

Income: When you know how much guests earn, you can set prices and marketing strategies customers will be more receptive to.
Family and relationship status: Are you customers single, coupled up or married? Do they have children? These statuses impact dining behaviors trends and patterns.
Gender: Knowing if your customer base skews more towards a certain gender can help you make business decisions that appeal to your customers.
Age: Different generations have different habits and preferences, as you’ll see later in this guide.
Where they live: Knowing where your customers live can help you understand whether you’re dealing with tourists or with locals who you can turn into regulars.
Average spend: Understanding spending habits can help you personalize your service and marketing tactics. For example, you could send coupons to customers who spend less, and upsell more often to high spenders.

Generational Customer Demographics and Dining Habits

Age plays a huge role in customers’ dining habits, so we wanted to highlight this critical demographic and what it means for restaurants. Here’s an overview of dining preferences by generation.

Gen Z (born 2001 – 2013)

Expect an on-demand experience.
Used to tech being part of the dining experience.
See restaurants as part of their meal prep habits. According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), “eight in 10… [are] inclined to purchase a meal kit if offered by one of their favorite restaurants.”
Two in three Gen Zers view takeout and delivery as essential to their lifestyle. The NRA found that 85% of Gen Zers have ordered delivery in the last six months.

Millennials (1980 – 2000)

The majority dine out at least three times per week.
72% of millennials view takeout as essential, according to the NRA.
81% are interested in healthy foods.
View restaurants as part of their meal prep.

Gen X (1965 – 1979)

Prefer eating organic foods, when possible.
47% of Gen Xers would purchase a meal kit from a restaurant.

Boomers (1943 – 1964)

Dine out weekly.
Prefer dining out to getting takeout.
30% choose restaurants with a mix of both familiar and innovative food options – 
Prefer ordering delivery directly from restaurants. Only 38% of boomer delivery customers used third-party ordering tools.
33% would purchase a meal kit from a restaurant. 

How To Conduct Restaurant Demographic Research

You don’t need to hire a detective to learn more about your guests. Use these tactics to research your restaurant’s demographics.

Technology: A customer relationship management (CRM) platform with guest profiles can automatically collect data about your guests, like order history, frequency and tipping generosity.
Customer interviews: Ask dine-in customers to participate in an interview. Ask them to share demographic data with you. Offering an incentive, like a discount or gift card, will make customers more likely to participate.
Survey: Similarly, you can ask customers on your email list to partake in a survey and share demographic information in exchange for an incentive.
Observation: Another option is to informally observe customers. Assign an employee to observe who they see in the restaurant at different times of day. For example, they could note the number of families vs. couples vs. friends vs. solo diners and take their best guess at diners’ ages.
Census data: Request census data from your local government to learn more about your local market.
Social media analytics: Most social media platforms will give you some demographic data about your followers, like location, age, gender, browsing habits and interests.

How To Leverage Customer Demographics at Your Restaurant

Now that you have customer data, what should you do with it? These applications will help you make the most of the demographics you’ve collected.

Segment Your Email List

With customer data, you can better segment your email list and send personalized messages and promotions to the customers who will be most receptive to them.

Improve Customer Service

Demographics help you understand your customer base as a whole. Individual customer data helps you provide better service. 

When servers can look at a guest’s profile when they’re seated, they can know who they’re interacting with and can give customers a VIP experience. For example, if a regular who typically dines with her young children makes a reservation, you can anticipate her needs by bringing a high chair and kid’s food menu without being asked.

Make Better recommendations

When you look at data in a guest’s profile, you can see their dining preferences and can make suggestions accordingly. If a guest usually chooses red wine over white, you can recommend a special bottle of Merlot.  

Wrapping Up: Customer Demographics for Restaurants

Knowing your restaurant’s customer demographics can help you run a more successful business. Use technology, conduct research surveys, monitor analytics and observe guests to learn more about them. Then, turn that data into a better dining experience.

SevenRooms can help you store and gather your restaurant’s customer demographics. Request a demo today.

1. Which Restaurant Customer Demographic Dines Out the Most?

According to recent trends, millennials (defined as those born between 1980 and 2000) spend the most dining out, averaging $95 per week. While 43% of millennial respondents said they dine out for convenience, 49% said they eat in restaurants because it provides a social setting for them to spend time with friends and family.

2. What Are Restaurant Customer Demographics?

Demographics are statistical data about groups within a particular population. Customer demographics for restaurants, therefore, are data about a restaurant’s customers. 

3. What Are Examples of Customer Demographics?

Examples of customer demographics include income, gender, spending habits, work industry and education level.

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