Description

This report covers restaurant marketing strategies in complete detail. With a focus on the US market and consumer, our expert reveals an abundance of marketing strategies for restaurants to capitalize on today. Mintel’s independent research examines social media strategy for restaurants, how to connect with each generation through tailored marketing, how best to present offers to consumers, and much more.

Below, we summarize some of the key points covered and offer handpicked insights from the report.

Topics Analyzed in This Report

  • How operators can attract customers to their establishments during times of financial uncertainty.
  • The most influential restaurant discovery sources, including the impact of social media and general consumer perceptions of discovery sources.
  • The communication topics diners want to hear about from operators and motivators to drive interest in new restaurant menu items.
  • How marketers can use loyalty reward programs and promotional offers to further build relationships with diners.

US Restaurant Market Overview

Inflation eased to 5% for the 12-month period ending March 2023, down from February’s 6%. However, as found in Mintel’s Restaurant Value and Pricing Market Report, 44% of Americans are still feeling the effects, so operators should be cautious when incentivizing promotional deals. To increase check averages and reach more customers, restaurant marketing strategies should focus on providing value-based meal options rather than low prices.

Restaurant Marketing Strategies

Create a modern word-of-mouth strategy

Word-of-mouth remains the most prevalent and trusted restaurant discovery source. In response to this, operators can use social media to form genuine connections and authentic messaging, leveraging influencers who share their brand values – a modern-day word-of-mouth.

Use social media; don’t overlook TikTok

Research in this report finds that Facebook is the leading social media source for consumers to find new restaurants. However, TikTok should not be overlooked, especially when considering younger consumers who skew in favor of the platform, and increasing usage to find new restaurants among all consumers. Operators can use TikTok to their advantage. For example, late last year, Chipotle added new side options, namely a vinaigrette and vegetables, in response to a viral TikTok about their food.

Reveal ingredient sources to appeal to healthy lifestyles

Healthy ingredients are motivating people to try new restaurants, as consumers prioritize healthy lifestyles. Restaurant marketing strategies emphasizing nutritional value and ingredient sourcing will appeal to those seeking fare that fits their lifestyle and dietary needs. Promoting better-for-you items at a discounted price will attract a larger audience than just health-focused consumers.

Inside the full report, you’ll gain access to a complete breakdown of restaurant marketing strategies, backed by independent research and statistics. Looking for something else? Browse our extensive foodservice market research.

Restaurant Types and Brands Covered

Restaurant types: This Report examines consumer attitudes, behavior, and trends related to restaurant marketing strategies. FSRs and LSRs are included in the scope of this discussion, as well as all of food procurement (dine-in, takeout, delivery). See also Mintel’s QSR Market Report or Casual Dining Market Report.

Brands analyzed: Starbucks, TGI Fridays, Applebees, Taco Bell, Chipotle, Subway, Dairy Queen, KFC, McDonald’s, and more.

Expert Analysis from a Foodservice Specialist

This report, written by Pooja Lal, a leading foodservice analyst, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight applicable marketing strategies for restaurants and bring expert context to the numbers.

Word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends remain the most prevalent restaurant discovery source, followed in importance by reviews on social platforms that speak to taste, visual appeal, and service. The foodservice industry remains competitive, especially as consumers become more digitally connected, heightening the need to stand out through communications that promote unique menu offerings and transparency about food quality and corporate initiatives.

Pooja Lal, Foodservice Analyst, Mintel Menu Insights

 

Pooja Lal
US Foodservice and Mintel Menu Insights

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Figure 1: Top takeaways, 2023
              • Consumer trends
                • Figure 2: Consumer trends, 2023
              • Competitive strategies
                • Figure 3: Competitive strategies, 2023
                • Figure 4: Category outlook, 2023-28
              • Opportunities
                • Satisfy consumer appetites through lifestyle needs
                  • Figure 5: Motivations to try a restaurant, 2023
                • Leverage social media platforms to connect with patrons
                  • Figure 6: Restaurant discovery sources, 2023
                • Boost restaurant discovery via Facebook, YouTube and Instagram
                  • Figure 7: Social media platforms used to discover restaurants, 2023
              • Market Drivers

                • Inflationary pressures set to ease
                  • Figure 8: Change in Consumer Price Index, 2007-23
              • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                • Sponsored ads can cut through scrolling spells
                  • Figure 9: Instagram sponsored ads, February 2023
                • Taco Bell takes marriage to the metaverse
                  • Figure 10: Taco Bell metaverse Wedding, 2023
                • Chipotle goes viral with influential social media menu hacks
                  • Figure 11: Chipotle TikTok menu hack
                • Delivery deals target at-home diners with incentives
                  • Figure 12: Applebee’s & Chipotle online marketing for takeout, 2023
                • Time-sensitive competitive deals can boost traffic
                  • Figure 13: Value-driven restaurant deals
                • Nostalgic promotions generate buzz
                  • Figure 14: KFC (2023) and McDonalds’ limited time offerings (2022)
              • The Restaurant Consumer – Fast Facts

                • Consumer behaviors are changing to meet lifestyle needs
                  • Social media channels allow brands to tap into vast demographics
                    • Communicate about topics consumers want to hear about
                    • Type of Restaurants Ordered From

                      • Consumers are shifting back to in-person dining
                        • Figure 15: Types of restaurants ordered from, 2023
                    • Restaurant Discovery Sources

                      • Sponsored ads encourage “happen to come across” discovery
                        • Figure 16: Restaurant discovery sources, 2023
                      • Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth
                        • Figure 17: Restaurant discovery sources, by generation, 2023
                        • Figure 18: Black Pearl tabletop QR code for posting Google Reviews
                      • Women are more inclined to actively search for restaurant options
                        • Figure 19: Restaurant discovery sources, by gender, 2023
                    • Social Media Platform Discovery Sources

                      • Video-based social media content continues to capture attention
                        • Figure 20: Social media platform discovery sources, 2022 vs 2023
                        • Figure 21: Chipotle Rewards – TikTok Fajita Quesadilla
                      • Gen Zs are connecting with brands on TikTok
                        • Figure 22: Social media platform discovery sources, by generation, 2023
                      • Less socially focused online platforms resonate with men
                        • Figure 23: Social media platform discovery sources, by gender, 2023
                    • Perceptions of Restaurant Discovery Sources

                      • Opt for authenticity via social media influencers
                        • Figure 24: Perceptions of restaurant discovery sources, 2023
                    • Restaurant Motivators

                      • Offer unique menu items to entice new and existing guests
                        • Figure 25: Motivations for trying a restaurant, 2023
                      • Familiarity, promotional prices help restaurants expand customer base
                        • Figure 26: TURF analysis of motivations for trying a restaurant, 2023
                      • Millennials want restaurants to do more for their health
                        • Figure 27: Motivations for trying a restaurant, by generation, 2023
                        • Figure 28: Black Pearl, March 2023
                      • Women are motivated to order menu items based on aesthetics
                        • Figure 29: Motivations for trying a restaurant, by gender, 2023
                    • Marketing-Related Behavior

                      • Bring forward enticing offers around the clock
                        • Figure 30: Marketing-related behavior, 2023
                      • Social media can pave the digital path to purchase
                        • Figure 31: Marketing-related behavior, by generation, 2023
                      • Marketers can win men over with branded merchandise
                        • Figure 32: Marketing-related behavior, by gender, 2023
                    • Communication Topics

                      • Communicate quality
                        • Figure 33: Topics of interest to diners, 2023
                      • Food quality, offerings and promotions are crucial talking points
                        • Figure 34: TURF Analysis of topics of interest to diners , 2023
                      • Gen Z prioritizes food safety
                        • Figure 35: Topics of interest to diners, by generation, 2023
                        • Figure 36: Too Good to Go app
                      • Double down on loyalty program perks to attract female diners
                        • Figure 37: Topics of interest to diners, by gender, 2023
                    • Restaurant Marketing Attitudes

                      • Listen to customer needs to develop stronger connections
                        • Figure 38: Attitudes to restaurants, 2023
                      • Connect with Millennials via community-based initiatives
                        • Figure 39: Attitudes to restaurants, by generation, 2023
                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                      • Consumer survey data
                        • Abbreviations and terms
                          • Abbreviations
                            • Terms
                            • Appendix – TURF Analyses

                              • Methodology
                                • Figure 40: TURF Analysis of motivations to try a restaurants, 2023
                                • Figure 41: TURF Analysis of topics of interest to diners, 2023

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