What Is the Target Market for a Healthy Restaurant?
The target market for a healthy restaurant can be tricky to define because tastes in food are deeply individual, and not everyone who is interested in eating well can afford healthy fare. Despite these difficulties, healthy restaurants do tend to appeal to customers with some similar viewpoints and attitudes, such as an overall interest in sustainable practices. Some groups, such as dieters and parents, opt for healthy food because it is consistent with their choices and objectives.
Although not all diet food is healthy, dieters are more likely to find menu items that will help them lose weight at a healthy retaurant than at a fast-food operation. A salad has fewer calories than a plate of French fries, and restaurants that specialize in healthy fare tend to devote care and attention to preparing low-fat and low-calorie foods that are interesting and appealing.
According to sociologist Paul H. Ray, over 50 million Americans share interests characterized by social and environmental values aimed at making the world a better place. Although these "cultural creatives," as he calls them, do not necessarily share demographic traits such as race, sex and age, they do share a set of values including an interest in healthy food. For cultural creatives, healthy food is a choice based on an overall desire to live well, integrating holistic eating with sensible, sustainable lifestyle choices.
For better or for worse, healthy food tends to cost more than unhealthy, processed food. Healthy eating can be a smart lifestyle choice, and it can also be a status symbol, a luxury enjoyed disproportionately by people who can afford it. According to a 2009 Gallup-Healthways poll, responders who live closest to convenient sources of fresh fruits and vegetables are more likely to report regular consumption of fresh produce. Affluent customers are part of the target market for a healthy restaurant in part because they are able to afford healthy food.
Parents are part of the target market for a healthy restaurant because they are often concerned about their children's diets. As with other demographics, the fact that someone has children does not necessarily mean that the parent will choose healthy food; parents with a cultural creative lifestyle will more likely choose a healthy restaurant than parents with mainstream values. Not all healthy restaurants offer fare that children are inclined to enjoy, but a healthy restaurant that makes an effort to include kids' items on its menu will certainly appeal to parents who are concerned about what their children eat.