It can be a challenge to target specific demographics, and doing so requires a deep understanding of consumer tastes. While operators have traditionally focused on bringing in particular age groups, several have shifted their attention to female customers. In a study conducted by Women’s Foodservice Forum, McKinsey & Company and Lean In, women had the final say in 85% of all consumer spending matters. Beyond their decision-making roles, female guests are more likely to post about their restaurant experiences on social media.
As with any targeting strategy, operators should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of adopting a specific consumer focus, such as the risk of alienating other groups. Here are some things to consider when looking to target female diners:
- Animal care and well-being are important topics to all types of consumers, but women are especially interested. According to Technomic, 64% of women say it matters that the poultry they consume comes from animals raised with care. They look for companies that prioritize animal welfare and have a trusted reputation, as 42% say that turkey served in restaurants should come from a widely recognized brand.
- Female guests tend to be more health conscious, with research indicating that they’re more likely than men to choose nutritious options in order to promote feelings of self-satisfaction. For example, the sandwich sides women seek out include soups and salads. Offerings that can fulfill these cravings are Turkey Sweet Potato & Noodle Soup and Spinach Salad with Smoked Turkey and Green Apple Vinaigrette.
- Women often want sandwiches that contain reduced calories, carbs and salt. Turkey is a protein that meets these preferences as a better-for-you alternative to its red meat counterparts. With recipes such as Turkey and Swiss Sliders and Turkey Wrap with Mango Chutney, restaurants can serve sandwiches that meet the demand of health-conscious guests.
- Beyond the menu, venues are featuring bright and natural aesthetics, such as rooms full of lights and plants. UK-based chain All Bar One uses this approach in lieu of the traditionally dark atmosphere of British pubs. Light and airy aesthetics also help create an ambience that captivates Instagram users. Restaurants are incorporating photo-friendly décor, from witty signs to swings and interestingly shaped furniture, to encourage diners to snap and share photos of more than just their meals.
Focusing on healthier menu items and an open and bright interior design are some ways that foodservice is shifting its attention to female guests. But even if you’re not targeting a specific group, it’s always important to understand who your customers are and to consider their evolving wants and needs.
Kruse, Nancy; Thorn, Bret. Cents of a woman: Targeting female customers, Nation’s Restaurant News, February 2019.
Fantozzi, Joanna. Parker Restaurant Group readies female-friendly Chicago concept The Hampton Social for national growth, Restaurant Hospitality, October 2018.
Center of the Plate: Poultry Consumer Trend Report, Technomic, 2017.
Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report, Technomic, 2018.
Sandwich Consumer Trend Report, Technomic, 2018.