Restaurant: How to Attract Foreign Customers

Discover how to attract the main types of foreign customers: Chinese, Americans, Japanese, Germans, British, Spanish, and Italians.

Published on 08/07/2021Sébastien Vassaux

Each nationality has their own food preferences and habits. Knowing them will be beneficial to you in order to better welcome the foreign clientele and meet their expectations!

Tempt the Chinese

Lunch times: 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. - Dinner times: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Chinese people like hot dishes and hate to start their meal with a cold starter.
  • They are curious about foreign cuisine. Highlight your specialties: it is with pleasure that they will taste oysters, snails… They also really like foie gras! Underline the refined, luxurious and the local produce of your dishes.
  • The quantity is important in the eyes of the Chinese: serve them copiously!
  • In order to attract Chinese clientele, vary your dishes: they should be spicy, mild, steamed, fried, in sauce...
  • Avoid dishes based on dairy products and fats.
  • The Chinese are particularly attracted by wines and cognacs: make an extensive selection of these alcohols.
  • Offer food that can be shared: this is very popular with the Chinese.
  • The majority of Chinese do not speak foreign languages… This often makes it difficult to understand the dishes. If you want to make Chinese tourists an important part of your clientele, you will have to consider offering translated maps or even hiring staff who practice Mandarin.
  • Know that they love attention, but welcoming them with a simple smile will already make all the difference with them!

Attract Americans to your restaurant

Lunch times: 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. - Dinner times: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Americans are usually open travellers who want to discover the country and its gastronomy. Usually staying for a long period, they plan a significant budget that they will gladly spend at restaurants!
  • In order to attract an American clientele, your restaurant must be friendly and offer a "personalized" service. Friendliness and enthusiasm are essential.
  • Speak English to Americans, even if this is approximate. American visitors need the establishment to prove that they are making an effort. The same goes for your maps: an English translation is preferable.
  • To adapt your lunches to Americans, turn more to snacking and quick meals.
  • During dinner, Americans take pleasure in trying more exotic and little-known dishes, for which they will take their time. Favor dishes made with meat and vegetables.
  • Do not put too much emphasis on foie gras and dishes such as offal, frog legs, snails, rabbits... For Americans, the meat must be "de-animalized": in short, its cooked appearance must not and not remind its animal origin.
  • Be aware that Americans do not like when red meat is rare.

Attract Japanese people to your restaurant

Lunch times: 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. - Dinner times: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

  • Japanese visitors are often traveling on the occasion of organized stays: they therefore appreciate fast services, organization and hate the unexpected.
  • To adapt to a Japanese clientele, insist on the refined, typical, and luxurious side of your cuisine, which Japanese people really like.
  • Offer rice and fish: the Japanese like to find this food on menus!
  • If you want to create a “Japanese friendly” menu, be aware that consumers are increasingly turning to snacking: they like to eat quickly.
  • To appeal to Japanese customers, pay close attention to the appearance of your dish.
  • Avoid strong cheeses and animal-based dishes such as offal, rabbits, sheep...
  • Do not neglect the bread served with the dishes: the Japanese particularly appreciate it.
  • Japanese tourists do not like hearty dishes, too fatty and cooked with fat. They are looking more for steam cooking and light sauces (lemon-based for example).
  • For your Japanese customers, prefer vegetables and make sure to cook the red meat well.
  • Be particularly precise and clear on the order of the Japanese. They are easily disappointed when they do not find exactly what they wanted on their plate.

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Attract Germans to your restaurant

Lunch times: 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. - Dinner times: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

  • They favor restaurants with a simple and traditional setting.
  • Serve generously, especially for lunch: this is the most filling meal for a German in a restaurant. They will pay particular attention to quantity.
  • In order to adapt your menu to our neighbors across the Rhine, offer a large number of dishes on your menu: they like to have a choice!
  • Make sure they have unlimited bread and water on their table.
  • German customers appreciate meats, cream-based dishes and vegetables in quantity as an accompaniment (often in the form of rich mixed salads).
  • Avoid serving rare red meat to your German customers!
  • Highlight your cakes and fruit tarts: the Germans are oriented the most towards these desserts
  • The meal, especially on vacation, is for the Germans a privileged break time. Let them take their time and ask regularly about their satisfaction during the meal.
  • To attract Germans, offer "organic" dishes: these are endowed with great ecological sensitivity!

Attract British people to your restaurant

Lunch times: 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. - Dinner times: 6.30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Bet on the traditional side of your restaurant, very popular with British tourists
  • For lunch, choose snack products and simple meals. Our neighbors across the Channel are fond of dishes as served in pubs: grilled meats, appetizers, vegetables, etc.
  • For dinner, turn to meat, vegetable and starchy dishes, or even exotic meals.
  • Emphasizing small desserts and teas at the end of a meal is a good way to adapt your restaurant to a British clientele.
  • Avoid offering uncommon animal specialties: these are dishes they do not appreciate.
  • The proportion of vegetarians in Great Britain is significant and it continues to grow. To welcome the British, plan one or more dishes without animal products on your menu.
  • In order to please a British clientele, you can also highlight Mediterranean cuisine: dishes based on garlic, olive oil, vegetables on the side...
  • The British pay great attention to the quality of service and above all expect advice.
  • Many of them are wine connoisseurs, so be sure to show them your best bottles!

Attract Spanish people to your restaurant

Lunch times: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. - Dinner times: 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

  • Spaniards are last-minute, enthusiastic visitors who like to visit and discover the country in complete independence.
  • As with tapas in Spain, focus on appetizers to accompany drinks, very popular with Spanish people.
  • Offer elaborate and not too fatty dishes
  • If you want to please the Spaniards, your meats should be well done and very well cooked!
  • Be aware of the fact that Spanish visitors will be very careful about the professionalism of your service.
  • Although "classic" cheeses are very popular with Spaniards, you are advised to skip strong cheeses such as Munster!
  • To attract a Spanish clientele, provide fish and seafood dishes on your menu!

Attract Italians to your restaurant

Lunch times: 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. - Dinner times: 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

  •  For lunch, Italians usually order a starter-main-dessert menu. Highlight meat dishes and light desserts (sorbets are very popular, for example).
  • For dinner, it is common for Italian customers to order a single dish, possibly with a light dessert or fruit.
  • Highlight your typically desserts, which Italians love on menus!
  • To please them, your dishes must also be aesthetic and colorful.
  • In order to adapt your restaurant to an Italian clientele, serve generously: appetizer between dishes, breads, garnished salads, accompanying plates...
  • When ordering pasta, Italians want it “ al dente ”. You will also need to present cheese next to them, but not directly above!
  • In order to reach an Italian clientele, offer a rich and nourishing cuisine made from simple and natural ingredients.
  • Like the Spaniards, the Italians look for dishes without excess fat and they appreciate fish and seafood.
  • Pay special attention to the authenticity of your offer: Italians fear restaurants that are too “tourist-oriented”.
  • They are very fond of grilled meats and roasted meats. Do not make them too thick and avoid cooking with fat.
  • In the presence of an Italian clientele, do not forget to change cutlery between the starter and the main course!

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