Segmenting customers in restaurants and food services has its benefits for small businesses, especially in the current environment. Customer segmentation allows you to target exclusive groups of customers, something that’s highly relevant for food businesses during the pandemic.
Absence of the niche restaurants customer segment
The niche customer segment in restaurants and food services, especially those who used to visit specialty restaurants are now absent. Fine dining and star category restaurants offering continental cuisine will see a total wipe out of their customer segment. Typically, this segment consisted of customers who appreciated and enjoyed the experience of professionally served, fine-tasting food.
Customer segmentation allows you to target exclusive groups of customers, something that’s highly relevant for restaurants and food businesses during the pandemic.
The health customer segment for restaurants
Legacy F&B companies are entering the health segment and moving towards creating sustainable food products. The health customer segment includes customers who gained awareness about the importance of immunity-boosting foods during the pandemic. They have also undergone a lifestyle transformation.
The health customer segment prefers home consumption of self-cooked restaurant-like recipes. Small restaurants can attract the health conscious customer segment by offering nutritious menu items.
The new-gen street food customers
When it seemed like street food in India was thriving like there was no end to it, Covid put an end to the dreams of aspiring street food vendors who hoped to make it big. But the street food customer segment has not diminished, just evolved into hygiene and health-conscious worshippers of lip-smacking Indian street food delicacies. To cater to this segment, street food services are turning into cloud kitchens.
A Bengaluru-based start-up ‘Samosa Party’ has tapped into this new customer segment. They have moved the street food service to a cloud kitchen and successfully raised an undisclosed amount in a pre-series A funding round backed by Inflection Point Ventures.
Home canteen customers
Canteen services had to stop catering which was particularly hard both for staff as well as customers. However, that has not altered the taste palette of canteen customers one bit. In fact, this customer segment has turned home-based, with canteen services providing home delivery. And customers are feasting on delicious meals in the privacy of their home.
Canteen and eatery outlets specialising in seafood or meals have switched to providing takeaways and deliveries rather than serving for large groups. Food delivery apps have also become inclusive of canteen services offering regional cuisine which works great for small businesses in this sector.
The canteen customer segment is placing regular (daily or weekly) takeaway or home delivery orders for regional meals.
What’s in it for me?
Restaurants are still in their struggle phase and small businesses/start-ups will find that the climate is unfavourable for starting operations. If you are a restaurants and food services start-up, it’s advisable to offer discounts (if affordable) on food orders or takeaway (reconsider dine-in) to balance the disruption in the market. Customers are drawn to discounts in the present scenario.
Start-ups in states with restrictions, curfews and lockdowns need to standby for suitable alternatives by the government.