By 2060, the U.S. African-American population will swell to 74 million—an increase of 30 million from 2014, the U.S. Census Bureaupredicts. African-Americans are not only growing demographically, but also financially. In fact, the median household income of this group rose by more than $2,000 from 2015 to 2016, according to the Census Bureau.
As 65% of African-American patrons order from restaurants weekly, per Technomic’s2017 FARE: Business of Food report, here are four ways operators can cater to this growing demographic.
1. Be honest
Brand integrity plays a key role in attracting African-American consumers. Fifty-three percent of African-Americans say it’s important that their restaurant of choice have a trustworthy brand, while just over 43% of overall diners do, according to Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics, powered by Ignite.
2. Sweep up
Kitchen cleanliness, although one of the highest-rated attributes among consumers overall, is valued most by African-American patrons, Technomic’s numbers show. Approximately 61% of African-Americans say it’s important that an eatery’s kitchen and prep area (if visible) is clean, compared to an overall average of about 55%.
3. Make takeout top-notch
More than 54% of African-Americans place importance on the quality of food when ordered for takeout, compared to just over 46% of overall consumers. As delivery grows in popularity, chains are continually looking to one-up each other in terms of convenience and quality; a recent example is Pizza Hut’s new delivery box, which aims to keep pies up to 15 degrees hotter as they travel from stores to customers' homes.
4. Ensure dishes are eye-catching
A higher percentage of African-Americans than consumers overall say dish presentation is a key aspect of their dining experience. Per Technomic’s metrics, 48.5% of African-Americans say it’s important that their food be visually appealing, while just 41.2% of overall diners say so. This preference aligns with consumers’ growing desire for foods with Instagrammable appeal.