Why restaurant market research matters

Market research matters regardless of the industry you’re in or the type of business you wish to launch. That is if you want to become a market leader and move ahead of your competition. The same holds true for those who want to open up a restaurant and those already in the business who wish to make more informed decisions.

Restaurant market research is an efficient tool for gathering intelligence on your market and analyzing the data you’ve collected. There are a variety of research methods, which work well. These include testing new products and services, speaking one-on-one with customers and gleaning insight from their perspectives, and using surveys to get mass answers to a series of questions. There are many others, of course. Try a few (or more) out and see what works for you.

Below, we’ve gone a little more in-depth about why restaurant market research should matter to you and highlighted some actions you can take to get started.

Restaurant owner and chef

Market research helps you make better decisions

To be blunt, market research allows you to make data-backed, rational decisions rather than choosing a course of action based on the feelings you have about any given situation. Emotion is taken entirely out of the equation. That’s a good thing when thinking about the fact that restaurant owners and management must make all kinds of daily decisions.

For example, you face choices about menu items, inventory, HR, expansions, and a great many other things. Without substantial research backing your decisions, your choices are little more than guesses, shots in the dark, with a misguided hope that the results will favor you.

On the flip side, with proper market research backing your choices, you are better positioned to make intelligent investments, test the right markets for expansion, and decide on which new dishes you should introduce to your existing customers.

While some market research methods are incredibly expensive, not all of them are. Owners of small restaurants can still engage in market research when facing a significant decision, and they should.

Enhance your customer’s experience

Remember that no matter how delicious your food is, not everyone is going to enjoy it. Maybe it’s not even your food. Perhaps it’s the atmosphere of your place. Consider the fact that some people like quiet, candle-lit settings while others like loud venues where kids are welcome.

By doing the proper market research before you open a restaurant, you can choose which demographics to target based on behavior and spending habits (and more). You can then customize everything from your interior design to the kind of food you serve with those demographics in mind.

Once you’ve been in business a while, you can use market research to see just how appealing your menu really is. Further, you could use it to gauge customer loyalty. Based on the results of your research, you can keep doing what you’re doing, make new offerings to your customers based on their feedback, or pivot if necessary.

Whether you’re starting out or you’ve been in business a while, restaurant market research can help you to increase customer satisfaction, improve their overall experiences, and keep them coming back.

Increase your profits

Who doesn’t want more funds coming in? Most restaurant owners would undoubtedly appreciate a bump in revenue and an overall increase in cash flow. After all, business operations depend heavily on cash flow. You can find yourself in serious trouble and on the verge of closing your doors for good if cash flow suffers substantially.

Ultimately, restaurant market research can help ensure a positive cash flow by giving you the data you need to open in the right location, target the right people, and avoid costly mistakes.

Two women startup owners

Become more competitive

You have to understand your competition and your position in the market you’re entering. A market analysis can help you understand all of the competitive factors in the area in which you’ve chosen to establish your restaurant. With the correct information, you can prepare for strategies that your competition has begun implementing, and you can make the right moves to “head them off at the pass,” as it were.

In other words, you can anticipate their future actions and create your own strategy to counter theirs. By doing so, you’ll be better able to avoid the potential of financial damage to your business.

Finally, by observing your competition in action and gathering necessary intelligence, you can learn from what they’re doing, whether good or bad. Market research is all about getting the information you need to make solid business decisions. Remember that you need as much information as you can get with how competitive the restaurant industry is. In-depth market research provides that in spades.

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