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National Restaurant Association - US Hispanics: Know your audience

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US Hispanics: Know your audience

The United States is a country of increasing ethnic minorities. Hispanics are the largest group. To grow their businesses, restaurateurs should know and understand this large and powerful customer base.

According to the U.S. Census, as of July 2013, U.S. Hispanics numbered 54 million (17% of the population) plus 3.7 million in Puerto Rico. The U.S. Hispanic population is second only to Mexico’s (120 million). It is projected to reach 128.8 million – 31% of the total population – by July 2060.

More than 54% of all Hispanics live in Texas, Florida and California. The state with the highest percentage is New Mexico at 47.3%.

Very brand loyal, they are valuable to restaurants, with an estimated 9.8 billion annual visits. They are anticipated to account for 25% of the increase in consumer spending on food away from home from through 2015.

They are big spenders at quick-service restaurants too, spending 16% more each year than non-Hispanic households. Plus, they’re more likely to dine with children there. They frequent hamburger restaurants more often than the rest of the market as well.

“The U.S. Hispanic market is an incredibly important segment for the restaurant industry,” says Ola Mobolade, managing director of Firefly Millward Brown and author of Marketing to the New Majority. “It comprises the fastest-growing segments while influencing the mainstream’s taste preferences. Drawing from Hispanic culture to innovate menus can attract both the rapidly growing U.S. Hispanic market and the millions of non-Hispanics in the multicultural mainstream.”

Spectrum Advertising in El Centro, California, specializes in marketing to Hispanics within Southern California’s Imperial County, which borders Mexico. Art Director Marcela Laphond identifies the major groups of U.S. Hispanics as traditionalists and second-generation Hispanics.

“Both have many things in common such as culture, family values and traditions,” she says. “Traditionalists are typically older, or they have lived in the U.S. for a short time. Second-, third- or even fourth-generation Hispanics are typically younger. Born in the U.S., they are usually bicultural, which means they’ve adopted many American customs, traditions and values but still live and appreciate the Hispanic lifestyle.”

Once you know your audience, the next vital step is to connect with them in their way. Discover more in part two of this three-part series on growing your business with the growing U.S. Hispanic market.

Tactical Takeaways

  • Hispanics are the largest ethnic minority group in the U.S.
  • They are a vital customer base for restaurants, with an estimated 9.8 billion annual restaurant visits.
  • Hispanics are big spenders at quick-service restaurants and frequent guests at hamburger restaurants.
  • The two major groups of U.S. Hispanics can be identified as traditionalists and second-generation Hispanics.

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