How Restaurateurs Are Attracting College Kids

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Offering nice Sunday brunches will definitely bring in a crowd, but
there’s only so far that this type of marketing will get a restaurant. Restaurateurs need to appeal to several
demographics, and one of the quickest growing is college students. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to market to
these young individuals, but through a few easy and directed marketing tactics,
those cafe chairs will be full in no time.


Offer Wi-Fi Access
In 2011, there were nearly 20 million college students enrolled around
the country, and it’s a safe bet that every one of them uses the Internet. These individuals will love saving their
smartphone data by being able to access an eatery’s Wi-Fi free of charge.


Additionally, students will really appreciate the ability to get online
and study during finals week while they’re waiting for their food or enjoying
their coffee. And for restaurateurs who
have adequate restaurant furniture, even offering students the option to hold
study sessions can increase word of mouth marketing. And when it comes to college students, word
of mouth is golden.


Get Involved in a Cause
Recently, numerous restaurants have gotten noticed by taking certain
political stances publicly. While this
is usually a terrible idea, it does highlight the marketing opportunities of
getting involved in a cause.


One way to do this would be to donate a dollar to charity for each
restaurant chair and table that is full on a given night. Better yet, sponsor a "Volunteer
Day" in the community and offer employees incentives to go out and get
involved. College students love causes,
and they’ll similarly love restaurants who engage in them.


Sponsor a Sports Team or Club
There’s likely not a college out there, regardless of how rural, that
doesn’t have a least a couple of sports teams. If by some strange occurrence in the Universe they don’t, there are
definitely a few clubs. Getting noticed
by college students could be as easy as sponsoring one of these groups.


Members of these groups, along with their fellow students, will feel a
sense of loyalty to a restaurant that supports them. Additionally, this hyper-local marketing will
undoubtedly immerse a restaurateur in the local community, and this opens the
door to be involved in other popular local events.


Know What They Want
Even if all of these tips are followed, they still likely won’t result
in filling those cafe chairs if the students aren’t offered what they
desire. More and more college-age people
are becoming hip to the organic and "locally farmed" trends, so
having these options will bring in an entire crowd who otherwise would eat
elsewhere.


It’s also important, though, to make the majority of options
affordable. Most college students are on
a shoestring budget, and all the marketing in the world cannot make up for
that. Just make sure that some great
dishes are affordable, and local college students will repay the favor with
their continued patronage.


With such a large college student population, failing to market to this
demographic is a huge mistake. It may be
hard to bring in this crowd, but once they’re in, they’re in to stay. Because of this, these simple marketing
techniques are essential.