The most efficient and effective way to market your restaurant is by identifying the consumer group most likely to frequent your restaurant, and then creating marketing strategies and messages geared solely toward them. Use language that is appropriate for that audience, advertise on mediums that they are most likely to be exposed to on a consistent basis and offer promotions that are applicable to that particular consumer group.

Families with Children

Restaurants that target families have two audiences they need to attract -- the children and their parents. This can be a lucrative market, but balancing the two audiences can be tricky. Keep the children entertained by offering crayons and paper placemats, or turn a corner of the restaurant into a mini-arcade. Keep the parents happy by providing high chairs, changing stations and spill-proof cups, as well as targeted promotions. Price your children’s menu accordingly, normally 50 percent the cost of an adult meal, and offer traditional children’s fare as well as some healthy alternatives.

College Students

College students are a lucrative market, with almost 20 million young adults enrolled in some type of college or university in 2011, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This group can be difficult to penetrate, but once you do, word-of-mouth will soon have students flocking to your door. Tap into the college crowd by offering an atmosphere in your restaurant that screams hip and trendy, and setting menu pricing that is affordable. Make them take notice by getting your business involved in a cause they care about, getting involved in groups and events on campus or partnering with other local businesses that already have a foothold in the group.


Boomers are a distinctive consumer segment. They tend to keep working well past retirement age, they have incredible purchasing power and, according to the National Restaurant Association, they spend more money in restaurants on an annual basis than any other consumer group. To attract this consumer group, you must be able to provide them the entire restaurant experience, from pre-dinner cocktails to dessert. Boomers are more concerned about the ingredients that go into the food, the quality of every dish and the overall experience than they are the price. Give them good food with an eye to all of the details with attentive customer service and you will have them eating out of your restaurant in no time.

Retired Seniors

The 65-and-up crowd is all about value. They may not bring you as much revenue as the younger Boomers, but they can fill the seats in your restaurant during off-peak hours, such as weekday breakfasts or late-afternoon dinners. To get this crowd into your restaurant, offer early-bird specials, discounts for seniors and targeted coupons to give them even greater discounts on meals.