Jan 4, 2023
 min read

Jumpstart Your Restaurant Marketing Plan With These 5 Guest Segments

This article outlines:

Why restaurant guest segmentation is important

5 guest segments every restaurant brand should have

How to put those guest segments to work via strategic restaurant marketing


People increasingly want to hear from their favorite brands, but blasting the same email to every guest—with no regard for their unique preferences, behavior patterns, or level of engagement—can be a costly mistake.

Olo’s data shows that restaurant brands using personalized marketing (vs. mass communications) could see a 20% lift in spend by email recipients over 30 days, with a notable surge in sales one day after receiving.

‍With restaurant guest segmentation, you can tackle a myriad of strategic objectives: win new guests, see them more often, boost online ordering, keep regulars engaged, and more.


5 Restaurant Guest Segments to Set Up Today

The best way to jumpstart a restaurant marketing plan is to build these five guest segments, which will enable you to personalize omnichannel communications and maximize lifetime value (LTV).

1. High-Value Guests

‍Segmenting by high check average is a foundational step toward targeted restaurant marketing. A good baseline is the top 10% of spenders. Why? Guests who spent a lot at your restaurant once are likely to have a high check average again, and therefore should make up a larger portion of where you invest your marketing dollars.

2. Loyal Fans

If a high-value segment is foundational, a segment of guests that is highly engaged is the second layer in that foundation. A loyal guest with a slightly lower check average may prove to have a higher lifetime value in the end (e.g. they spend less but they visit frequently). Plus, they’re more likely to be brand loyal if marketing communications speak to their personal preferences. This segment is made up of guests who come in regularly, order online often, and open most of your emails.

3. Churn Risks

‍It is proven to be more expensive to acquire new guests than it is to retain existing ones, so it’s worth putting time and resources into retaining lapsed visitors. When creating this segment, consider setting up filters to capture restaurant guests who used to visit or order regularly, but haven't in the past 6+ months (depending on your guest frequency averages).

4. Online Orderers

Restaurant delivery and curbside pickup are essential and will continue to grow in the future. A segment of online orderers allows brands to suggest high-value takeout items to interested diners, but also market in-restaurant experiences to increase on-premise sales.

5. Daypart Devotees

‍There are many ways to slice, dice, and cook up strategies to leverage daypart segments. One approach worth testing is using a segment of current daypart devotees to target lookalikes—meaning guests who mirror those already visiting regularly during your slower shifts. Want to drive business on Monday or Tuesday night? Targeting lookalikes of guests who have proven to be weeknight warriors in the past is a great place to start a paid search or social effort.


Download Olo's Restaurant Marketing Guide

Restaurant Marketing Ideas

Restaurant guest segmentation is only the beginning. The real fun (for marketers at least) starts when those segments are put to work through personalized communications geared toward each segment’s preferences and purchase behavior. Here are a few examples of restaurant marketing campaigns that leverage segments:

Online Orders Campaign | Restaurant Email Marketing

Goal: Boost Online Order Frequency with a Triggered “Inside Scoop” Email Campaign

Segment: Guests who have ordered online, but haven’t ordered within the last month

Trigger: It has been 30 days since their last online order

‍Campaign: Personalized email campaign promoting special takeout-only menu offerings. “Hey, Naomi! We want to let you in on a sweet secret. *Whispers* Did you know we have a s’mores kit that is only available to-go?” 

Win New Guests | Social Media Marketing for Restaurants

Goal: Attract Guests to a New Location by Targeting Lookalikes with a Lead Magnet

‍Segments: Top 1% most frequent visitors and/or top 10% most valuable guests

‍Lead Magnet: $20 toward your first meal (with a qualifying minimum spend)

Campaign: A social media campaign promoting your grand opening and the first week of specials targeted to lookalikes of your current regulars who live nearby your new location. For added effectiveness, require people to first share their email to access the $20 gift card (aka “email gate”) and grow your marketable guest database.

Boost Brunch Business | Multi-Channel Restaurant Marketing Plan

Goal: Drive Brunch Sales with a Multi-Channel Campaign Promoting New Menu Offerings

Segment: Saturday and Sunday Regulars who visit between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

‍Campaign: Send a personalized email campaign promoting your brunch cocktail menu on Tuesday, then launch a re-targeted social media campaign to the same segment featuring your signature cinnamon roll on Friday to keep brunch top-of-mind as guests head into the weekend.

Segments are just the beginning of a personalized restaurant marketing strategy—once built, you can start to track their growth, frequency, and check average. For more inspiration, check out 6 Guest Retention Strategies that Actually Work.

To learn how our restaurant marketing solutions can help your brand personalize guest communications and maximize lifetime value, contact us.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Petit from Unsplash

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