Whether it’s pricing, dietary needs or kitchen hours, there are a number of hurdles that stand between restaurants and the customers they want to attract. More recently, one growing challenge for restaurant owners and managers is bringing in diners who normally prefer to cook at home.
Research has emerged that quantifies these growing home cooking trends. A 2014 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that working adults are consuming less “food away from home” for both meals and snacks. These home cook inclinations may be concentrated among younger generations. A study by youth marketing firm Ypulse found that 76% of millennials like to cook, and do so nearly five times a week, on average.
Armed with this knowledge, restaurants need to get creative about marketing to foodies, those with an intense passion for food and how it’s prepared, and budding home cooks. Here are four quick tips for converting at-home chefs into grateful diners:
- Complement the home-cooked meal: Home-cooked food and takeout orders don’t have to be mutually exclusive. By emphasizing side dishes, appetizers or desserts that bolster home cooks’ recipes, restaurants can help transform a one-entrée cooking project into a multi-course meal.
- Warm up to customization: An important part of marketing to foodies is a restaurant’s ability to entice their discerning palates. Part of home cooking’s appeal is having the freedom to test out different flavor combinations and experiment with new ingredients. Restaurants can capitalize on these behaviors by offering unexpected add-ons or more customizable menu items, such as build-your-own sandwiches or bowls.
- Promote more limited-time specials: To attract foodies who prefer the comfort of their own kitchens, restaurants should consider the power of limited-time specials. Exclusive menu items only offered for one week or one month are more likely to motivate home cooks to dine out, compared to staples they can otherwise make themselves (or order year-round.)
- Don’t shy away from social media: Home cooks are social media power users, frequently consulting Instagram and Twitter for recipe ideas and inspiration. By using social media to amplify other promotions (like a special dish of the month) or share cooking tips from their own kitchen staff, restaurants can engage foodies in their natural habitat.