Targeting Hispanic Consumers

Peter FiliaciThe Hispanic population will fuel the vast majority of the population growth through 2020. Therefore, it’s becoming increasingly important for restaurants to connect with this valuable consumer to drive profits.

Next week during the VIBE Conference, Peter Filiaci of Univision Communications, Inc. will dive deep into how restaurants can generate more traffic by targeting Hispanic consumers. Here is a quick glimpse into some of the areas he will touch upon.

VIBE: How much has the Hispanic community grown over the past five years and how much more is it expected to grow in the future?

Peter Filiaci: From Census 2000 to the 2010 Census, the Hispanic population grew 43% (from 35.3 million to 50.5 million) versus just 5% growth among the non-Hispanic population for the same period. Because of that large differential in growth rates, Hispanics actually accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population growth over that ten-year period. And the Latino population is projected to continue its rapid expansion. From 2010 to 2020, the Hispanic population is projected to grow an additional 26% to reach 63.7 million.

VIBE: What are two of the main factors that drive Hispanics to specific restaurants?

Filiaci: While taste, value and convenience are certainly very important factors, one of the biggest differences we see with Hispanic consumers is that they are more likely to visit restaurants for the social occasion.  Relative to non-Hispanic consumers, the experiential aspect seems more important than the functional aspect.  Hispanics are much more likely to say that they visit restaurants to spend time with family, to treat the children and to spend time with friends.

Another factor important to Hispanic consumers is the availability of freshly-prepared and healthy options.  While this is a growing trend for all consumers, Hispanics are more likely to think about this benefit in terms of how it affects the entire family, especially the children. Hispanics are much more likely to cite healthy meal options for children as a key driver.

VIBE: How will this group impact food and beverage menus?

Filiaci: Given the importance they place on the social aspect of dining out, it’s not surprising that Hispanics tend to have larger party sizes. To keep everyone in that larger party happy and to cut down on the veto factor, variety on the menu may be more important for attracting Hispanic consumers.  Kids options will be very important to this consumer as well.

Hispanics are also unique in their traffic daypart distribution. This consumer is much more likely than the average diner to visit during the breakfast daypart, during happy hour as well as late at night. Particularly for happy hour and late night visits, expanded snacking and drink options would be important factors for chains to consider.

VIBE: How can chain restaurants better connect with and attract this growing population?

Filiaci: The simple answer here is just to let Hispanic consumers know about your brand, know that you appreciate their patronage, know that they are welcome.  We have found in both our QSR Landscape research and, more recently, in our Casual Dining Landscape research that for the majority of chains there is a significant gap in unaided awareness between Hispanic consumers and non-Hispanic consumers. When chains make the effort to advertise to Hispanics with culturally relevant messaging this consumer tends to respond enthusiastically.


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