Qualitative Versus Quantitative Data
There are two main types of data: qualitative and quantitative. Chances are you'll find value in both types as you research your catering business.
Qualitative data can't be precisely measured or stated in terms of numbers. If you interview someone and ask him what he liked about a certain caterer, his response would be considered qualitative data. If you design a survey and ask people to rank four different caterers, their answers would also be qualitative data because you'd only be able to tell which caterer is ranked the highest. (Since the rankings mean something different to each survey respondent, the actual rating values would have little meaning.)
Demographics are the measurable physical or personal characteristics of a population, such as age, sex, marital status, family size, education, income, and religion.
Quantitative data is measurable data. It can be represented in terms of actual quantities or figures, such as prices and sales figures. If you send an e-mail to a target list and ask people to mention a code when they place an order with you, you'll be able to quantitatively measure exactly how many people replied compared to how many e-mails you sent out.
Quantitative data is easy to work with because the numbers give you immediate feedback. Qualitative data may not feel as concrete, but it offers a valuable insight into your local market that you can't get from a page full of numbers.