How to do a Restaurant Market Research?

tactics for restaurant market research

6 Different Tactics for Restaurant Market Research

Starting a restaurant is a thrilling venture, but success in the competitive culinary world demands more than just a passion for food. One crucial step that often determines the fate of a restaurant is thorough market research. Understanding the dynamics of the market, identifying target customers, and gauging the competition are essential components of crafting a winning restaurant. Let’s dive into the art of market research for starting a restaurant.

Identifying the Market Trends

Market trends play a pivotal role in shaping the success of a restaurant. Utilising market research to identify the latest trends helps in tailoring the menu, ambiance, and overall concept to align with consumer preferences. Research on platforms and websites like OpenTable, Restaurant Online & Statista can provide insights into emerging trends that can set a restaurant apart.

Understanding Consumer Preferences

Knowing your target audience is crucial. Who are your customers, what are their demographics (age, income etc)? Conducting in-depth research to understand consumer preferences helps in tailoring the menu, pricing, and marketing strategies.

Conduct surveys to gather direct feedback on food preferences, service satisfaction, and overall experience.n Review empirical analyses on restaurant choice factors, highlighting aspects like price, food quality, and variety as key drivers.

Predicting Realistic Average Bill Amount

Accurate pricing is a delicate balance between covering costs and appealing to the target market. Market research helps in predicting realistic average bill amounts, ensuring that pricing resonates with the perceived value of the offerings. So, evaluate the cost of ingredients, preparation, and desired profit margin to set menu prices.

Compare current sales with the same period in the prior year, and refer to a budget or forecast for insights. Analyse profit margins by minimising costs and enhancing revenue. Finally, look into the average spending habits of households on food and dining out.

Analysing Local Customer Base and Demand

A comprehensive restaurant market study involves analysing the local customer base and demand. The goal is to confirm that the restaurant’s offerings align with the preferences and demands of the local community. To comprehensively assess your concept’s Local Customer Base and Demand, you can utilise both informal and formal methods.

An effective and cost-efficient approach involves personally visiting and dining at competitors in your area. During these visits, pay close attention to the overall dining experience and discreetly record your observations using your phone for later analysis, ensuring to tip well for valuable insights.

For informal research, focus on key factors such as foot traffic volume, population density per square mile, the mix of residential areas (apartments, houses), types of vehicles in the vicinity, and the presence of other businesses, especially restaurants. Delve deeper into specific local competitors by dining at each, collecting menus, and assessing price ranges, service speed, quality, and peak times.

Beyond personal observations, gather insights from nearby restaurateurs and real estate professionals to understand the local community’s dynamics.

Utilising a Funnel Approach

Market research for restaurants can be overwhelming, but employing a funnel approach simplifies the process. To employ a funnel approach in restaurant market research, start by attracting attention through broad, general questions aimed at understanding overall market trends and customer preferences. Utilise diverse marketing methods to increase awareness and draw potential customers to your restaurant’s offerings.

Once attention is captured, proceed to the Capture stage, where the focus shifts to narrowing down questions and gathering specific data about the target audience, including preferences, demographics, and behaviours, essential for a more targeted understanding of the market.

Moving to the Close stage, develop strategies to convert the captured data into actionable insights. This involves analysing customer feedback, identifying trends, and making informed decisions to enhance the restaurant’s offerings and overall marketing approach.

Finally, in the Retain stage, implement measures such as loyalty programs, personalised marketing, and ongoing engagement to retain customers and encourage repeat business, ultimately building a loyal customer base.

Checking Market Saturation

Before diving into the restaurant business, it’s imperative to ensure that the market is not already saturated. Checking for market saturation is a crucial step to assess the feasibility of a new restaurant in a particular location since when a place is filled completely with people or things, so that no more can be added.

To assess market saturation in restaurant market research, start with a Competitor Analysis by studying and comparing your restaurant competitors to grasp the demand and market opportunities in your area, identifying existing establishments, their offerings, and market presence.

Additionally, monitor the Demand Plateau for specific food and beverage products or services. As market saturation occurs, watch for demand plateaus, indicating a reduced potential for growth. Conduct a Gap Analysis to thoroughly analyse the competitive landscape, identifying gaps or niches not well-served. Consider offering unique value propositions to stand out in a saturated market.

In the event of market saturation detection, employ Diversification as a strategy. Explore adjacent markets or introduce innovative offerings to expand your potential customer base.


Embarking on a restaurant venture requires meticulous planning, and market research serves as the compass that guides through the complexities of the culinary landscape. By understanding market trends, consumer preferences, and local dynamics, aspiring restaurateurs can increase their chances of not only surviving but thriving in the competitive world of gastronomy.

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