Chefs and Restaurateurs
An Appetizing Target for Marketers
By Kate Mason
Whether you're in the mood for Japanese, Cajun, French or Thai, chances are you'll find the desired fare at a nearby restaurant. While restaurants open and close, change owners, and fire and hire staff daily, there never seems to be a shortage of eateries in almost any American neighborhood. According to the National Restaurant Association, there are more than 844,000 restaurants in the United States alone. It's no wonder then why the market of restaurant owners and chefs is so vast, and why target marketers are finding this group so very appetizing.
What They Buy
"This group is interested in all types of products," claims John Papalia, president of Statlistics, Danbury, CT. "Menus, signage, direct mail pieces and managing software—marketers are finding the group ideal for everything related to or needed in the restaurant industry."
As any owner or chef knows, it takes time and dedication to run a successful restaurant. It also takes plenty of supplies and equipment. Dining rooms need to have furniture, lighting fixtures, wall decorations and carpeting. Individual tables need silverware, napkins and condiment containers. Bars need to stock assorted-sized glasses, paper coasters and plenty of liquor and mixers. And restaurant kitchens need to be equipped with just about everything-—from pots and pans to dishwashing equipment to bulk-size cans of stewed tomatoes.
"Restaurants are very much like small businesses," says Jeff Moriarty, director of sales and marketing for Cahners Lists, Des Plaines, IL. "And the marketing opportunities for this group are extensive. They require a lot things you wouldn't immediately think of—business forms, cleaning products and even fire safety manuals."
Almost all restaurants are digitized and consider computers essential in their fast-paced work environments. "Today, you won't find a kitchen without a computer," comments Brent Frei, editor in chief of Chef magazine. From routing orders from the dining room floor to the kitchen, to managing employee records and work schedules, high-tech restaurants may also prove a hot target for computer and software marketing.