Brand Building: How to Connect With the Female Customer

Women are the most powerful consumers on the planet. Their spending impact on the global economy is growing exponentially every year. The total income of all women is predicted to reach a staggering $18 trillion by 2018, according to global professional services firm EY.

Women also have tremendous influence. Even when they are not paying for the check, they are driving 70 to 80 percent of buying decisions.

That definitely includes restaurants too. Is your place getting its share of female dining customers? If not, here are some insights and ideas to attract more female patrons.  

Start by better understanding how the female customer is wired. Empathy toward the female customer will help you create relevance that will earn immeasurable admiration and loyalty.

Media researcher Nielsen reports that while male and female brains may look alike on the outside, there are differences in how men and women process information, express emotion, interact with others, and ultimately approach their daily activities. These important differences impact both media to reach them and their purchasing patterns.

Understanding the Female Demographic

Women consumers have a tendency to be more:

  • Emotional
  • Intuitive 
  • Social 
  • Worrisome 
  • Caregiving
  • Sensory-sensitive 

There are many other female nuances. Women generally:

  • Pay more attention to fashion and design
  • Eat less and tend to enjoy grazing and sampling 
  • Are calorie-conscious
  • Request more special diet-driven options like gluten-free, low carb, vegetarian, etc. 
  • Don’t want to appear as high maintenance, but do have higher cleanliness standards
  • Want easy-to-consume food that won’t leave meal evidence on their face
  • Are more attuned to discount and promotional news than men 

To leverage these gender traits and generate more business means being fem-friendly in both your marketing and how you deliver your dining experiences.

Homemade maple brown sugar almond and coconut granola, dark chocolate coconut chia pudding, and blueberry coconut water spritzers  | Credit: Instagram @setthetablewithlove

Homemade maple brown sugar almond and coconut granola, dark chocolate coconut chia pudding, and blueberry coconut water spritzers | Credit: Instagram @setthetablewithlove

Marketing to This Demographic

When you are creating marketing programs or support materials, consider emotionally charged strategies and tactics that appeal to women. Emotional marketing will outperform logic-driven messaging every time. For instance:

1. In your marketing copy and content, use descriptive adjectives that speak to feelings and express a feminine tone. Most women won’t relate well to a hearty fat dessert, but instead will gravitate toward one that is delicate, like a petite berry cake dusted with chocolate kisses.

2. When you are selecting imagery, like photos or illustrations, consider those that are aspirational, have a current fashion edge, and project a quality design look. Or depending on your concept and target age group, nostalgic visual elements can be effective too.

3. Design memories that will resonate with female customers. Women are a very social group. Consider special events like hosting private cooking classes with the chef, food and beverage tastings, or even happy hours with special pricing and offerings.

4. Strive for visible gender-balanced leadership. Women make up a big portion of your customers and the talent base; they should also be represented on your management and leadership team. Research shows that companies with gender-balanced teams have a higher ROI. This can also mean recognizing female team members in your internal and external communications. 

Staying Mindful of the Dining Experience

1. Create a physical location that makes women feel safe, welcome, and comfortable. This can mean making sure parking lots are well lit and even offering a car escort service if your place is located in a high crime area. 

2. Make your customer service a differentiator. Women tend to have higher expectations for service. When you deliver stellar customer service, everyone wins.

3. Instill in your service team education on good manners and traditional etiquette. You will never go wrong here no matter how modern the world gets. 

4. Be thoughtful with your menu design. Offer smaller portion sizes. These don’t have to be less expensive, just not such a guilt-ridden size. Consider including calorie counts or nutritional information and featuring healthier options.

5. Create an ambiance that impresses all five senses — from the aroma when you enter the restaurant, to the look of your décor, to the sound system quality and volume, to the room temperature. All of these small details and brand touch points matter, especially to women. Don’t underestimate the brand opportunity with your restroom design from the overall cleanliness to the lighting. Lighting that actually functions is important so that female patrons can see to fix their make up. And finally, if you want to score bonus points with the female diner, consider offering dark colored or lint-free napkins and adding purse hooks at the bar, or even providing purse stools at the table.

Female buying power will continue to increase. As you look to build a stronger restaurant brand and set your sights on business growth, don’t miss this important opportunity to be relevant to the female dining market.