Like any business, your restaurant’s livelihood depends on your customers. Your customers need to be understood to be properly served. In order to understand your customers, you must choose a target audience to narrow your focus. If you are a fine dining establishment, you may focus on white collar, middle-aged couples, and businesspeople. If you are a diner, you may cater to families and blue collar people. If you are a small plates restaurant, you may cater to young professionals.
With all of that said, it follows that what entices and appeals to a family is not necessarily the same thing that appeals to young couples. Choosing a target demographic will help you make the following decisions:
Hours of operation
If you are a family friendly diner, you may not need to be open until late. If you cater to the lunchtime crowd in the middle of the business district, you may not even need to be open for dinner. If you focus on young professionals and couples, perhaps you need only to be open for dinner and late-night service.
Your menu should be limited and should be within the concept and theme you have chosen. It has been noted that large menus tend to overwhelm guests and large menus make it hard for your kitchen to prepare the food to a high standard. Focus on doing a few things extremely well as opposed to many average things. If you have a younger crowd, you may consider after work specials or happy hours. If you are a fine dining establishment, you may consider an elaborate and complex wine list.
Your restaurant may play music or they may not. The type of music, or whether music is played or not will depend on your target demographic.
Your seating chart will be impacted by your target demographic as well. Family friendly or oriented restaurants will require larger tables whereas smaller, romantic restaurants with a focus on couples will need smaller, more private tables.