How to match your restaurant concept to guests’ expectations

As a restaurant owner, you have a good idea of who walks through your doors, but do you know if you meet their expectations? Different generations of consumers desire a different experience when they go out for a meal or snack, and meeting their expectations is vital in satisfying guests and making sure they keep coming back. Want to learn how to match your restaurant concept to your guests’ needs? Keep reading and find out!

Talkin’ ’bout my generation

It’s one of life’s eternal truths that each generation differs from those before them, which shapes their expectations and behaviour when eating out. We have the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and Generation X (1965 to 1978), who look for comfort and quality. They take their time and make eating out an occasion, often going for the familiar (they are loyal!), whereas new generations such as the Millennials (1979 to 1996) and upcoming Gen Z (1997 to 2010, followed by generation Alpha) are much more adventurous and love exploring. So, knowing exactly who your dinner guests are is key to providing the desired experience, matching every aspect of your restaurant to their expectations, from communication to service and menu. And more importantly, it enables you to persuade them that they should enjoy your restaurant, rather than ordering takeaway or cooking at home.

Gen Z: Experience, Adventure and Instagram

Let’s have a closer look at one of these generations, namely Gen Z (or the Centennials). They go out for food more often, but choose smaller portions and have a lower budget. Also, they look for vegan/vegetarian options (more) and choose ‘new’ and adventurous food over traditional dishes. Food’s not just food to them! What they eat is part of their identity and is instantly shared on Instagram and other social media. So, how to benefit from this knowledge as a restaurant operator? By meeting their needs with a complete concept, and that requires focus!

Focus and ‘Mono concepts’

The danger of failing to have a defined target audience is that you’ll never excel in your service, as you’ll not be able to fully meet any generation’s expectations. It’s got to be a complete picture, where everything hangs together and is part of one focused concept. This is illustrated by the success of ‘mono concept’ restaurants, where everything revolves around a single dish or ingredient. Some examples:

  • Doughnut Time in London – just doughnuts with spectacular dips.
  • The Avocado Show in Amsterdam – every dish revolves around avocados.
  • Warpigs in Copenhagen – solely craft beer, barbecue and beer snacks in a biker setting.
  • Flower Burger in Milan – vegan burgers and even more vegan burgers…!

All eggs in one basket?

So, should you put all your eggs in one basket and focus on one dish or ingredient? It may sound appealing, but it’s no guarantee of success. What these restaurants and concepts do show, is how important that focus is. As a restaurant operator, you have to make decisions and decide who you are and who you serve. It’s a choice between making the most of your business or never really being the best that you can be. So, make sure you stay in touch with your target group, whether it’s Gen Z or the Baby Boomers. Follow the right social media accounts, read trend reports and newsletters.

Know who they are and what they want and deliver exactly that. Then you’ll keep them coming back for more!

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