Grow your Restaurant Business By Building a Better Customer Persona

Restaurant staff attending the customers at their table

Creating innovative customer personas helps you to engage and attract your ideal customers. A high level of competition in the restaurant industry places greater demands on restaurants to serve customers better, each day. Even with the right amount of funds, there are some restaurants that fail to survive. The major reason behind this is that they didn’t have anything that the customers would like exclusively. Being exclusive to the customers required a basic understanding of their likes, dislikes, fears and challenges, and so on. This is why categorizing customer persona for your restaurant can help you to define your target audience better. 

A Basic Customer Persona Should Include The Following:

  • Background Of Your Customer (Name, Age, Demographics, profession, etc.) 
  • Hopes And Dreams (Aspirations of the customer)
  • Finances 
  • Worries and Fears (Weak Points)
  •  Why he/she chooses a restaurant
  • A day in the life of the Customer 

1. What Is A Customer Persona?

More than just a customer’s profile, a customer persona is a comprehensive category of the type of customers you’re dealing with. Different customer personas would signify the different types of customers coming to your restaurant. Identifying the needs of a particular customer persona, figuring out what makes them visit your restaurant, and what makes them go to any other would help you serve them better. 

The first step towards creating a customer persona is getting into the mindset and understanding what matters to them. You achieve this by giving the category life. What we mean here is that you need to think of the customer persona as a person with all the characteristics that you could reasonably expect a typical person of that category to have. For example, It would be easier for you to categorize all your customers on the basis of their eating habits, their strengths, and weaknesses. And you do that by talking to people and asking them the right questions.

We understand it could be a tiresome process, but all you need to do is talk and observe. However, here is a detailed step by step process for you to start working on your restaurant’s customer personas. 

2. Step-By-Step Process To Create Customer Personas For Your Restaurant 

Before starting with the process of creating customer personas, you need to be aware of your customer’s needs. Identifying the needs will include knowing about their personal information, their likes, dislikes, education, and others. 

Here is a step by step procedure to create ideal customer personas for your restaurant! 

i) Plan which Questions You Need To Ask Your Customers  

Asking the right set of questions from your customers makes your personas more accurate and relatable. Here is a list of things that you must ask about while interviewing your customers. 

  • Age 
  • Marital Status 
  • Education Level 
  • Work
  • Income Range
  • Product/ Service Recommendations
  • Do you consider giving online reviews after making a purchase? 
  • What time do you go to sleep/wake up? 
  • What do you enjoy on your days off?
  • Your hobbies and passion 
  • Your fears and disappointments
  • Your challenges 
  • Frustrations in the day
  • Accomplishments 
  • Future aspirations
  • Reasons to select a restaurant/come back to the same restaurant 

ii) Schedule Interviews 

Interviews would add to your understanding of the customer. You must never rely on the internet to understand your customer. Conducting interviews gives you a more detailed opinion of the customer, and prepares you to give your customers what they want.

Considering that meeting customers for a meeting is subject to their availability, you might face difficulties in taking interviews with each and every customer. Instead, you can consider conducting surveys. Include the right questions in the surveys and get detailed insights into your target audience’s psyche and their unmet needs. 

Buyer Persona Template

iii) Use Your Business Data 

Apart from conducting interviews and surveys, another source of finding out what your customers are demanding is customer data. Analyze data from your CRM and understand the present trends. On the basis of these trends and consumer behavior, you can then divide your customers into personas.

Order history, average order size, and frequency of visits are some of the key metrics you can use to identify loyal customers; you can model customer personas based on this information.

iv) Listen To Social Media 

Your restaurant’s social media says a lot about your brand. Be concerned about the comments and messages that people share with you on social media handles. For instance, you can instantly reply to a bad review/comment, and try to figure out what the customer didn’t like.

Based on that, you can figure out the disappointments of that particular customer persona. Review sites are another source to gather data about customer personas which can be used to validate your assumptions about a certain customer category.

v) Integrate All The Data Together 

Using data from multiple sources, and quoting real people makes it more realistic for your marketing team. Here is one example of an effective customer persona. 

In the image above, the restaurant has given its customer persona a ‘name’ and an ‘image’. This is done to ease the understanding of your customer personas just by looking at their name. For instance, your customer persona names could be ‘Shy Mary’, ‘Social Natalie’, and so on. You could also add a small description of the type of customers in a particular persona, for instance, ‘Dave, the busy, hungry student’. 

One thing you should take note of is that these personas keep changing with time. You need to be aware of their changing preferences to create customer personas that really work. Therefore, the entire process needs regular updates. All in all, creating customer personas can turn out to have a positive impact on your restaurant operations and sales. 

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Daniel McCarthy is a seasoned restaurant consultant and serves as the Communication Manager at Restroworks, a prominent F&B SaaS company. Drawing from his vast knowledge of leveraging innovative technological solutions, Daniel excels at enhancing restaurant operations and revenue, thereby contributing to the ongoing transformation of the industry.


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