Navigating trends and consumer behavior can often feel like running an obstacle course. However, rapper Eminem seems to have hit the sweet spot with diners when he opened his Mom’s Spaghetti restaurant in his hometown of Detroit at the end of September.
From a consumer intelligence perspective, we’ll explore what he got right and why a keen understanding of your target audience and emerging trends is key to any business endeavor. And as you can see below, consumers from a variety of professions are weighing in online for this one.
We’ll explore how Mom’s Spaghetti shows consumer understanding in action with a specific look at:
- The Mom’s Spaghetti backstory
- Cultural touchstones and emerging trends
- Consumer intelligence to uncover your niche
And since this is a story about a restaurant, here are a few associated statistics related to Eminem’s endeavor and the industry at large:
- According to the National Restaurant Association’s recently released Restaurant Trends 2021 report, streamlined menus, off-premises takeaway, and comfort food are three of the top ten restaurant trends dominating the industry this year.
- Despite the pandemic, 90% of consumers say going out to a restaurant is enjoyable, and 45% like to eat out twice a week.
- For 52% of restaurant owners, high operational expenditures and rising food costs are their biggest challenges.
But first, let’s jump into the backstory behind the restaurant to see why it resonates with fans.
The Mom’s Spaghetti Backstory
Eminem burst onto the national stage with his debut album “The Slim Shady LP” in 1999. In 2002 he starred in “8 Mile”, a semi-autobiographical depiction of his troubled life in Detroit as an aspiring rapper. The film opened at number one in the US and was a box office success earning over $240 million worldwide.
The soundtrack for the film went quadruple platinum mainly on the success of the song “Lose Yourself” and went on to win the Academy Award for best original song – the first-ever for a rap song. It’s an anthem for digging deep within to conquer your fear and make the most of your opportunity to shine. And it’s the first few lines that inspire the name of the restaurant Eminem recently opened.
The song begins by speaking about the nerves we experience when we’re putting ourselves out there. And that’s what fans have latched onto – even all these years later.
“His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti”
And there’s even a parody video with over 32 million views on YouTube that overdubs the word spaghetti in place of some of the regular lyrics for a humorous twist on the song. And it quite likely acted as a catalyst to heighten the popularity of the cultural reference.
Cultural Touchstones and Emerging Trends
One may think that opening a new restaurant during a pandemic is a gamble. And they wouldn’t be wrong. However, from a consumer intelligence perspective, there’s a lot that Eminem got right with this one.
First – famous artists are akin to brands in many ways. They have a product, branding, and an audience. And for top stars, they’ve often turned their fandoms into an engaged community complete with nicknames. Taylor Swift has Swifties – Eminem has Stans.
It’s also important to note he didn’t open this restaurant on a whim. He started doing it back in 2017 as a pop-up location following the release of his “Revival” album. He also ran the pop-up for a line of festivals in 2018 and opened it to serve frontline workers at a few Detroit area hospitals at the beginning of the pandemic. We could call this research and development.
We’ve established the backstory and the cultural relevancy of mom’s spaghetti, but how does it fit into emerging trends?
General Food Conversations Lend Credibility to the Concept
In the general food conversations on social media, we know that users are primarily focused on cost and health-conscious options. But this endeavor doesn’t seem to be playing to that angle. However, this is where using consumer intelligence to target your custom audience pays dividends because not all trends are created equal.
As we mentioned above, the National Restaurant Association released their 2021 Top Restaurant Trends report, which lists the top ten trends in the industry. And this is where Eminem hit the nail on the head with his audience.
The number one trend was streamlined menus. Mom’s Spaghetti has two things on the menu – spaghetti and spaghetti sandwiches. And you can add meatballs or vegan meatballs as an upcharge. That’s about as streamlined as you can get. And the vegan option is a nod to the health-conscious.
Their second listed trend is one we’ve covered often – the precedence of off-premises options in the form of takeout and delivery. While Mom’s Spaghetti does have limited seating, consumers have been wearing out the takeout window, lining up for blocks to get a taste.
🍝 – Eminem’s restaurant ‘Mom’s Spaghetti’ has officially opened and he turned up to take order on opening day. pic.twitter.com/QY0Bhv3MNs
— LADbible (@ladbible) September 30, 2021
The ninth trend on their top ten list mentions that a third of the dining operators surveyed are adding more comfort food to their menus, including lasagna and noodle dishes. This is an obvious fit for spaghetti.
Mom’s Spaghetti isn’t angling towards the budget-conscious health nut, but that’s because the whole schtick with the restaurant is a throwback to hard times mentioned in the song. It’d be off-brand.
But what it got right from a consumer and market intelligence point of view is that it connected the dots between cultural relevance, emerging trends, and community. It’s the trifecta that every brand should strive towards.
Time will tell if Mom’s Spaghetti has staying power, but the principles are there to get everyone talking. And they are certainly doing that.
Consumer Intelligence to Uncover Your Niche
The takeaway here for brands is the positive impacts brands can expect when they focus on a targeted audience and relevant trends. Social listening provides the consumer intelligence brands need to streamline their products and messaging to hit precise audiences.
Social media analytics allow you to crosscut brand conversations, product topics, and any other social media narrative to fully digest the nature of the consumers talking within a subset. That way, you have a solid grasp of all the consumer qualities that make up your target audience.
With this information in hand, it’s easy to create themes within your social listening tools that replicate the qualities found in your audience. These themes can then be applied to any trend analysis you run to see your audience talking within it.
It’s next-level social listening functionality like this that helps brands find their audience in any situation, from pandemics to politics – or social justice issues to spaghetti. And when new ideas and trends roll around, you can quickly learn how they feel about those too.
Consumer intelligence is your opportunity to propel your brand with targeted audience insights. Reach out for a demo, and we’ll show you how!