Where Can I Find the Best Market Research on Restaurant Industry Trends?

What helps define a brand from the get go? Their clientele.

Many restaurant brands have a wide lens when envisioning what they hope their restaurant will become. But in our experience, that lens usually needs refining in order to set a restaurant business apart and find their niche… to not only get customers in your door, but keep ‘em coming back.

As such, a concept’s focus should be routed in and shaped by the audience to which they speak to, cook for, and foster relationships with.

Enter: the value of Market Research.

What are the characteristics of a population? Where do opportunities exist? What do consumers crave? Here are some excellent market research resources, restaurant trends, and suggestions to help answer those questions and more.

Nielsen PRIZM. Our team has used this segmentation system to yield local area identifiers and consumer preferences to create groups based on age, income, occupation, socioeconomics, number of children living at home, consumer behavior, and more. Our team utilizes this advantage in understanding who resides in a local market and how a certain concept may (or may not) resonate with them.

National Restaurant Association’s State Statistics. The NRA’s State Statistics portal is an interactive map designed to provide a scope of the restaurant industry by state. One click offers data and allows users to navigate through not only restaurant industry specs by state, but also annual projected sales, job growth within the next decade, and data on jobs and locations broken down by congressional district.

U.S. Small Business Administration. Created in 1953 to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation, this independent federal agency continues to work as aid, counsel, and protector of small business concerns to help Americans in their quest to start, build, and grow their businesses. Working in conjunction with the U.S. Census Bureau, the SBA provides national and localized identification on demographics from population and housing stats to economic and geographic data to consumer values/behavioral tracts and personal attributes.

Back to Basics. Yup, we admit it, we love a great people-watching session! Whether checking out the local restaurant scene for the latest food trends, scoping out an area’s farmers markets, who’s shopping in the local retail meccas, and/or stopping by area restaurant suppliers and purveyors, we’re fans of getting back to basics to develop a real feel for the nuances of a local population: who lives there, what they’re buying, where they’re going – and of course, what they’re eating.

The Takeaway: Invest in your Business. Put a line in your budget to pay staff overtime if necessary to conduct comprehensive, local market research in order to pinpoint your key audience before you break ground. The information you glean, whether by traditional market research analysis methods or plain old people watching, will become a tool you will refer to time and time again as your business grows.