Do you own an Indian restaurant or are planning to start one? If so, you’re likely wondering who your target market is and what you can do to attract them to your restaurant.

The target market for Indian restaurants is fairly broad because most people love Indian food. But there are nuances to this market as not everyone loves the same type of Indian food. So much so that Indian food outside India is often adapted to the tastes of the local market. This means that Indian food in Mumbai is likely to taste different than Indian food in LA, New York or Paris.

In this article, we will discuss the different segments of the target market for Indian restaurants outside India and look and what attracts them to this incredibly vibrant cuisine. We will also discuss what factors influence the customer’s decision to choose one Indian restaurant over another.

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The Target Market for Indian Restaurants: Who’s your ideal customer?

One of the best ways to segment the target market for Indian restaurants is by understanding why, at any given moment in time, someone chooses to go to an Indian restaurant instead of a restaurant with cuisine from another country.

Based on these segmentation criteria, we can categorize the target market for Indian restaurants into the following segments:

  1. People who love Indian food
  2. People who love spicy food
  3. People looking for a culinary adventure
  4. People looking for fusion food
  5. People nostalgic for Indian food

The largest segment of the target market for Indian restaurants are those who love Indian food. They are typically familiar with the cuisine and have a favorite dish or two that they always order. For these customers, going to an Indian restaurant is about getting their fix of authentic Indian food.

The second-largest target market segment includes those who love spicy food. These customers often see Indian food as the ultimate challenge when it comes to spice. For many, it’s a badge of honor to be able to eat the spiciest dishes on the menu and they often order these dishes as a way to impress their friends. In general, these customers are a target market for spices not just in restaurants but also when they cook at home.

Then there are those looking for a culinary adventure. These customers see Indian food as an opportunity to try something new and exotic. They are often intrigued by the unique flavors and spices used in Indian cuisine and are excited to try dishes that they have never had before.

A growing trend is to mix Indian cuisine with other cuisines to get fusion food. These customers of fusion food like to combine their favorite dishes from other cuisines with the spices and flavors of India. They often order dishes that are a fusion of Indian and other cuisines, such as “Indian-Chinese” food or “Indian-Mexican” food. A classic Indian-Chinese fusion food is Gobi Manchurian.

The fifth and final target market segment for Indian restaurants is those who are nostalgic for Indian food. These customers may be first or second-generation immigrants who are looking for a taste of home. They often order dishes that remind them of the food they ate growing up in or visiting India.

Now that you have an overview of the target market for Indian restaurants, let’s see how customers choose one Indian restaurant over another.

How do customers choose an Indian restaurant?

In most cases, if you compare the menus of two Indian restaurants, you are likely to find that they look quite similar. So how do customers choose one Indian restaurant over another?

Here are some of the most important factors:

  1. Location
  2. Prices
  3. Atmosphere and decor
  4. Quality of Service
  5. Quality of Food

Let’s look at each of these more closely.


Customers often choose an Indian restaurant based on its location. If it is close to their home or office, they are more likely to visit it regularly. Having said that, customers are often willing to travel a bit further for their favorite restaurant.

So before you pick a location for your new Indian restaurant, make sure to do your research and find a location that can be conveniently reached by those you plan to attract. You want to be sure there are enough potential customers within walking or short driving distance from your restaurant.


Customers also compare the prices on the menu before making a decision. In general, most people are looking for value for money, which means getting good quality food at a reasonable price and in good quantities.

While customers will be willing to pay a bit more for slightly better food, most people will not classify going to an Indian restaurant as a fine dining experience, as they may if they go to a high-end seafood restaurant, and so will not be willing to pay exorbitantly high prices.

Make sure you have a menu with prices on your website. Customers often compare menus and prices online before deciding which restaurant to go to.

Atmosphere and Decor

The atmosphere of an Indian restaurant can be quite important for customers. They want to feel like they have been transported to India when they step into the restaurant. This means that the restaurant should have an Indian theme, with Indian music playing in the background and Indian art on the walls.

At the same time, many customers in the West are turned off by garish colors or too much clutter, so the decor should strike a balance between being authentically Indian and also appealing to Western sensibilities.

Quality of Service

The quality of service in an Indian restaurant, like any restaurant, can be quite important to customers. They want to feel like they are well taken care of, with staff that is attentive but not intrusive.

Most customers have good experiences with services in Indian restaurants and so if they decide to try a new restaurant they expect nothing short of friendly and efficient service.

Most of all customers like waiters to be available when they need them. So if they need something – salt or another bottle of water – they should be able to order it quickly. Also, many customers tend to go to Indian restaurants for lunch in the middle of a workday and so may not appreciate having to wait too long for their food to show up.

Quality of the Food

Of course, the most important factor for customers is the quality of the food. Not only do people expect the food to be fresh and flavorful but when it comes to Indian food, people also want it to be authentic. This can often be a challenge for many Indian restaurants because authentic Indian food can be quite spicy and not to everyone’s tastes.

So Indian restaurants have to find a balance between making food that is authentically Indian and yet appealing to the Western palate. This can be a difficult tightrope to walk but it is essential for any Indian restaurant that wants to be successful.


Since almost everyone loves Indian food, the target market for Indian restaurants is quite large. But the competition too can be quite intense. And so, if you are planning to start a new Indian restaurant you will need to be very clear about who your target market is and who isn’t.

Naturally, you will want to attract those who love Indian food. But you could attract other segments of the market. For instance, you could put extra spicy items on the menu to appeal to those people whose primary attraction to Indian food is spices.

You could also include items on the menu that are not commonly found in Indian restaurants. These could be from parts of the country that are underrepresented in Indian restaurants. This could attract those looking for a culinary adventure that includes new tastes and experiences.

Another possibility is to combine Indian cuisine with cuisines from other parts of the world. The attraction for such fusion food is a growing trend that you can tap into. And finally, don’t forget the truly authentic foods for those missing home and who go to an Indian restaurant for a taste of their childhood.

The bottom line is this: Having an Indian restaurant can be a fun and profitable business as long as you are clear about who your target market is and accordingly design the menu, the ambiance, the décor, the service and pick the location that appeals to this target market.