Nowadays, customers are spoiled for choice when it comes to where they want to eat. With the US alone being home to an estimated one million+ restaurant locations, the success of a restaurant rests on how well they know their customers.
To uncover consumer experiences, opinions, and emotions regarding their service, restaurants conduct food focus groups. This market research method effectively gathers rich, qualitative insights to bridge the gap between the business and the market’s needs.
This article will cover how focus groups can be a valuable tool for making intelligent business decisions in the foodservice industry.
1. Discover Industry Trends
From cronuts to sushi pizza, the restaurant industry isn’t immune to trends. Keeping a finger on the pulse of emerging industry trends allows restaurant establishments to attract new diners and offer patrons a unique experience.
By conducting focus group discussions, businesses can discover these trends directly from the mouths they’re feeding, aka their patrons. Doing so allows them to stay relevant among the competition and become even more profitable.
2. Identify Food Preferences
Customers’ food preferences play an important role in determining what goes on the menu. No matter how many dishes are on the menu, a restaurant would not be profitable if the food offered didn’t reflect the wants and needs of the customers.
Hosting a food tasting focus group helps food establishments gather constructive criticism on each dish to identify flavors that appeal to the palette of their customers. Based on these insights, restaurants can modify their recipes and develop new menu items to meet the expectations of the market.
3. Analyze Competitors
Because of how saturated the foodservice industry is, competition is inevitable. By asking customers questions about competitors, restaurants can understand their place in the market and refine their business plans accordingly to match or exceed their industry rivals.
Getting consumer feedback on rival establishments helps restaurants get a clearer picture of their competition so that they can not only emulate their success but also recognize and avoid their failures.
4. Determine Areas of Improvement
Facilitating food focus groups help business owners identify what areas they should focus on to improve customer experience. These discussions enable respondents to brainstorm and suggest potential solutions to problems within the restaurant as well as tackle any blind spots that they may have missed.
Focus group moderators can test different strategies (e.g., restaurant concepts, advertisement themes, promotions) on consumers to see what works and what doesn’t work. Thus, helping food businesses make informed decisions when it comes to planning their tactics and allocating resources.
5. Recognize Potential Opportunities
The influx of insights that restaurateurs gather from consumer focus groups can pave the way for potential market positions and restaurant concepts. Gaining a fresh perspective on your business could help uncover ideas that might never have been thought of, such as new menu items and promotions.
Asking open-ended questions about what customers wish for in a food establishment is an excellent way for restaurants to inspire breakthrough innovation and be more forward-thinking in their business.
Offer A Better Customer Experience Through CCam® focus
Remain competitive and on-trend in the foodservice industry by leveraging a 360° recording and streaming solution for your food focus groups. Civicom’s CCam® focus has integrated hybrid capabilities that allow researchers to gather in-depth insights from both remote and in-person respondents in one session.