Ash Wednesday marks the first day of the Lenten season, when many Christians participate in 40 days of fasting, self-examination and confession. For many this is a time of religious significance, but for restaurants, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of seafood specials, all-you-can-eat lobster and fish sandwiches galore.
Of the 26% of Americans who observe Lent, 41% only eat fish on Fridays. With so many restaurants looking to capitalize on this limited-time audience, it’s important to note that there are unique segments that offer opportunities for better targeting.
For example, over 1/3 of practicing Catholics are Hispanic. With a buying power of $1.5 trillion and a 4% increase in per capita visits to quick service restaurants, Hispanics make up a large segment of diners who practice Lent and are hungry for a great dining experience. Brands like Popeye’s, Denny’s and Red Lobster have keyed in on Hispanics as a key audience, especially during Lent. Focusing on family messaging, offering up ethnic-inspired menu items and incorporating multi-lingual ads are three ways to capitalize on this emerging audience segment.
- According to NPD, Hispanics typically dine out in larger groups and are 11% more likely to dine out with children. In fact, 69% of Hispanic consumers say that restaurants are an ideal place to spend time with family, and 29% noted that availability of children’s options is one of the top most important menu considerations when choosing where to eat. Offering incentives that focus on families with kids could help drive Hispanic families to your restaurant. With average household incomes of $40,000, they may also be looking for a good value. Special deals on kids meals or “kids eat free” promotions could provide a great incentive.
- Serving up authentic, ethnic-inspired menu items is another great way to drive frequency from Hispanic consumers. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, “While each Hispanic group’s taste in food is influenced by country of origin, there are some overlapping similarities such as an abundance of grains, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables.” Additionally, ethnic condiments, spices and authentic cultural cuisine are hot trends for 2016. Incorporating these flavors into new menu items creates intrigue for not only Hispanic diners but consumers as a whole.
- Finally, messaging with this audience should be personalized. According to Technomic, 44% of Hispanics are more likely to visit foodservice locations that offer Spanish-language advertisements. Incorporating multi-lingual ads allows you to speak directly and more personally. The top three platforms where Hispanic diners hear about restaurants and new menu items are traditional TV (37%), social media (22%) and radio (19%). Utilizing these platforms with personalized and targeted messaging can encourage and entice them to round up the family and dine at your restaurant.
Contact us to see how audience trends like these can influence sales for your restaurant or business.