Should Restaurants Target Dads Instead of Moms?

The traditional mindset of America was that dad worked 9-5, came home to dinner with the children, did yard work on the weekend and made his fair share by grilling out. Mom was the housekeeper, made breakfast for the family, lunch for the kids, and dinner for the family, and got treated out to dinner maybe once a month. Naturally, this has fallen by the wayside; men are staying home with the kids as women work, both parents follow careers as the kids are taken care of, and some families might have two moms or two dads, or are all held together by a single parent, grandparent, uncle or aunt. Variety is the spice of life, but when it comes to advertising, most restaurants and foods market towards women: mom is the one that, theoretically, still buys the groceries and figures out where to take the children for lunch or dinner if they’re out on the road. Burger King recently and notably shifted their marketing away from “The King” (which primarily drove purchases to college males) to a family friendly approach, as the style was actually turning away moms.

Boston’s Restaurant and Sports Bar has decided to go against the grain, and have begun targeting dads in their advertisements and marketing. The claim is that the 39-chain restaurant features carb-heavy and salty food in a sports bar environment; to the chain, this naturally means dad should be the focus. Are they eschewing their female customers by focusing on these elements, or are they unaware that women too can love sports and greasy fried foods?

Have you considered who your advertising targets? Would a swap to a more male-focused demographic help you?

It Might Not Be For You

If you run “Miss Madeline’s Muffin And Tea Cake Cafe”, chances are you may be a little too pigeonholed on your market (although, there may be a few men who will venture into a world of pastels and flowers for a delicious tea cake). Your current demographic is clearly softer and more feminine than the traditional male market.

Instead, if you run a restaurant that’s somewhere in the middle of “Miss Madeline’s Muffin And Tea Cake Cafe” and “Rambo’s Blood-Dripping Grill And Hard Liquor Establishment”, but more of a “Hamburger Hut” that doesn’t particularly swing one way or another. you may be able to swing some additional male marketing to catch them.

And? If you DO run “Rambo’s Blood-Dripping Grill And Hard Liquor Establishment”, chances are you probably already have a fair amount of male-dominated marketing.

Don’t Eschew Your Current Base

Namely: don’t scare off or otherwise insult your current audience. The King mascot for Burger King, while wildly successful in advertising to men, was deigned to be too “creepy” for female audiences.  Needless to say, any advertising that say “for a man” or the like could possibly offend. Promoting with the imagery of cars, sports, or even simply the color blue, all traditionally male-related, would be a better bet.

Don’t Be Afraid To Revert

If sales aren’t working as you’d hope from the marketing change, don’t be afraid to swap back to old marketing maneuvers, or even try a new one. Changing marketing tactics isn’t always a turn-off for consumers who you’ve hooked with your current ones; if your food is worth coming back for, and you’ve got customers hooked, you’re not even marketing to them at this point. Varying your advertising will vary your audience.

If you find yourself without a male contingency, targeting them would be a good idea. Making sure you don’t lose your current audience is paramount, though. Try a few different tactics to adjust your consumer base.