Restaurant Target Group Demographics

Restaurant target market demographics

Establishing a target group demographic for your restaurant from the very beginning is extremely important. Such a target market comprises: the group of customers your restaurant wants to attract, the group of customers which will show interest in your restaurant. Once this group is determined, you can adapt your restaurant and reach your business goals.

Why is Demographics Important

1. establishing the target group demographics for your restaurant

Defining restaurant target audience

The first step to a successful restaurant is to determine a target group demographic. Characteristics that can help with categorizing different demographics are:

  • age/generation,
  • gender,
  • place of residence,
  • religion,
  • income.

These factors can help you better understand the behaviour of potential customers. We at METRO want to help you understand these characteristics and show you how you can use them to create customer target groups.

Please keep in mind that the behaviours we allocate to these different groups are what the average person in these groups behaves like. Obviously, not every single person in these groups behaves the same and has the same social and financial standing. Deviations exist. However, in the following, we work with the behaviours that are expected from most people in a certain demographic group.

Age-based Market Segmentation

2. Target demographic age groups and gender

Grouping customers according to their age or generation can be done by using the common generation groups. These groups are: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, Generation Z.

Baby boomers dining experience

2.1 Baby Boomers: the traditional customers

Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. Usually, this is a generation which has already worked and earned money for many years. On average, they are expected to be financially stable. This is regardless of whether they are still part of the working community or they are already retired. For this reason, you can expect Baby Boomers to eat at restaurants frequently. They might be ready to spend a significant amount of money, as they are usually not on a specific budget.

Something you can’t expect from every Baby Boomer is the ability to use the internet. Therefore, this demographic group will probably not book a table online, look at the menu on your restaurant’s website, or leave a review afterwards. If most of your target group are Baby Boomers or if you want to attract them, your safest bet is to stick to a classic restaurant theme and serve a traditional cuisine. Nonetheless, making sure your restaurant has an internet presence is still crucial – you will also have other customers apart from Baby Boomers.

Generation x dining experience

2.2 Generation X: the family experience 

Generation X was born between 1964 and 1980. Usually, this is a generation which is currently still making a career. A large part of this generation are parents of families with children who are in their teens or early twenties. This means that most families with Generation X parents probably still live in one household and therefore still go out dining together at restaurants. Taking this into consideration, family-friendly restaurants usually attract Generation X.

Keep in mind that this generation is normally interested in a well-rounded diet and places a lot of value on organic and fresh ingredients. A broad spectrum of foods on the menu would make a great impression on Generation X and would tempt the customers to come back to your restaurant. As already mentioned, an internet presence is very important with any demographic. Generation X can usually get around the internet well and would be interested in looking at the menu before visiting your restaurant. This way, they can make sure that there is something on the menu for their entire family.

Millennial dining experience

2.3 Millennials: experiential dining

Millennials were born between 1980 and 1994. Usually, this generation is comprised of young professionals who are either single, dating or beginning to start a family. Since Millennials make up a younger crowd, you can expect them to go out to dine at a restaurant multiple times a month. They usually go out to dine for the social aspect and come in large groups looking for a fun and interesting restaurant experience. The average Millennial does not shy away from trying a new cuisine or extraordinary dining experience.

Especially younger Millennials are still just starting out in their career and may have limited financial freedom in terms of spending money for restaurants. Most Millennials are probably planning for a future and saving money for large financial goals, such as buying a house. Therefore, Millennials can’t constantly afford expensive meals, but still don’t refrain from experiencing a unique and fancy restaurant every once in a while. Furthermore, they are usually very aware of ongoing and future environmental issues. Thus, Millennials are probably also interested in sustainable and ethically friendly dining experiences.

Gen z dining experience

2.4 Generation Z: the true digital natives

Generation Z was born between 1995 and 2014. This generation includes children, teenagers, and people in their early- to mid-twenties. Especially children and teenagers are generally very financially dependent on their parents. Others in Generation Z might be students or young people still starting out in a career, meaning they probably have limited financial freedom.

Generation Z wants to have an affordable, quick but also fun dining experience. An internet presence of your restaurant is generally important, but if Generation Z is part of your target group demographic or if you are trying to attract them, it is fundamental. People belonging to Generation Z expect to find any information on the internet and expect a presence on social media. With Generation Z in your target market, a social media presence can also help dramatically increase your customer base, as individuals can like and share your restaurant.

Gender-based Market Segmentation

3. gender segmentation

Gender-based customer segmentation

Regarding the gender of potential customers, the behaviours you can derive are fairly limited. However, on average, men are more likely to go to establishments like pubs, bars and fast-food restaurants, whilst women are more likely to go to cafés and modern restaurants.

We wouldn’t recommend using the gender factor as one of the main factors for establishing your target group demographic.

Geographic Segmentation

4. Location-based targeting

Next to the characteristic of age or generation, the place of residence of potential customers is another key factor to consider when figuring out your restaurant’s target market.

Urban cafes and restaurants

4.1 Urban restaurants

If your restaurant is situated in an urban and commercial area, which is likely in the city center or a lively part of a city, you can expect your target market to be diverse with regard to income, group size and dining interests. An urban area attracts many different people and usually exhibits a great population density. Inhabitants of an urban area can be young professionals, young families, and students. Also keep in mind that in general, an urban area with lots of things happening at all times can attract people from all over town. Therefore, a restaurant in an urban area needs to offer an interesting dining experience and, most importantly, a fun environment for people who are going out at night. Offering alcoholic beverages, entertainment and exciting activities can be very lucrative if your restaurant is in such an area.

Make sure to stand out from the competition, which is usually large in an urban and popular area, with an interesting and different restaurant concept. If there are already many establishments that sell a certain type of food, try to have your offers differ from that. Whether your restaurant concept will be successful or not depends on the restaurants that are already established in the urban area. Something else to not forget is to be able to accommodate different group sizes, such as tables for two, tables for families and tables for larger parties. Make sure to have a great presence on the internet, as it is crucial to successfully grow your customer base.

Suburban restaurants

4.2 Suburban restaurants 

If your restaurant is situated in a suburban area, it is more likely that families, members of Generation X and Baby Boomers will be customers of your restaurant. In a suburban area, your target market will probably be comprised of people belonging to the middle class, who go out to eat occasionally, usually in honor of a special occasion, such as a birthday. Make sure that you are prepared to seat and feed larger groups that also include children of all ages. Because of this, it makes sense to have a wide range of food options and to better stick to more traditional dishes rather than have a very niche cuisine. It could be preferable to the inhabitants of the suburban area if your restaurant offers special dishes for children and entertainment options, such as a playground or coloring books.

As in every area, it makes sense to have your menu online and to make reviews of your restaurant possible. Luckily, in a suburban area, the competition is not as high as in an urban area. On the other hand, the population density is also not as great. Therefore, make sure to meet most of your demographic target group’s interests by offering a classic, but delicious and still fun dining experience.

Rural restaurants

4.3 Rural restaurants

If your restaurant is in a rural area, the success factors are similar to the ones in a suburban area. However, in a rural area, try to keep your cuisine as simple and traditional as possible as, on average, customers here are less likely to try something new. An internet and/or social media presence is also less important in this case. We still recommend always having the possibility to review your restaurant though.

Touristic restaurants

4.4 Touristic restaurants 

Lastly, leaving these different types of locations aside, if your restaurant is in a generally touristic area, it is important to consider the special requirements to have success with the touristic target group. In a touristic area, it makes sense to offer local cuisine and to have your employees speak various languages, especially English. Furthermore, the closer your restaurant is located to a sight or landmark, the higher the number of customers and revenue from tourists will be.

Religion and Income in Your Segmentation

5. The role of religion and income in defining a target market

5.1 Religion

Regarding religion, it only makes sense to adapt to the target group demographic, if the specific religion makes up most of the nearby population. Then, it would make sense to adapt your menu and cater to special religious food requirements, such as halal or kosher food.


5.2 Income

The factor of the income of your target group demographic obviously helps determine how you should price the food that you are offering. Using this characteristic is pretty straightforward: a high income can pay for pricier foods; a middle income can pay for average priced foods and a low income can pay for affordable foods.

Once you have taken a close look at the target group demographic of your planned location for your restaurant and have established the target market, it is time to work with these specific behaviours that your potential customers exhibit and use them to your advantage.

Target Marketing Strategy: The 4 Ps 

6. using target demographics for your restaurant's success

To establish a successful restaurant with a potential for major growth in the long haul, you need to properly use the target group demographic you determined for your type of restaurant. This is done by adapting your business plan in the categories product, price, placement, and promotion. When adapted correctly to the target market, these four factors are the core of a successful restaurant.
Target Marketing Strategy for your restaurant

Product, Price, Placement, Promotion

  • Product refers to the cuisine your restaurant is planning to offer, which needs to be based on the wants and needs of the customers.
  • Price refers to how much you are planning to charge for your food, which needs to be based on the income level of customers and on the prices that competing establishments charge.
  • Placement refers to the location of your restaurant, which needs to be based on the inhabitants of specific areas and what they are interested in.
  • Promotion refers to marketing methods, which need to be based on what news outlets or social media outlets the customers use and where your restaurant can be considered by as many people as possible.

All in all, adaptation to the target group demographic is the key to a successful restaurant.

Explore our "How to open a restaurant" series and learn how to make your dream come true.
How to open a restaurant
To Sum Up

6. Summary – the target group demographics for your restaurant

Restaurant Target market segmentation

The concept of your restaurant also determines the target group, or the main target group that you want to reach with your restaurant.

How old should the target group be? Which ambience suits which target group?

You should always keep these questions in mind, as the music, design and food concept can be created based on your choice.

Frequently Asked Questions


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