We’ve all been there. A nice serene restaurant. The air, one half filled with lovely background music. The other half a mixture of clinking cutlery and happy conversation. Then through the door walks a family… with a kid… sometimes two kids. Sometimes more!
The hearts of diners already there, the waiting staff, manager and even the parents sink because this can only go one of two ways. If the kid (kids) are happy we all get to eat in peace. If not, we don’t.
However, a lot of the times restaurants don’t make it easy on themselves. They just haven’t prepared to cater for the little people.
The big people (adults) are catered for. They are kept happy. But the surroundings for little people leaves little room for enjoyment. What’s more, little people can sometimes be your hardest customers. Please them and everything will go smoothly.
Children, on average, eat at least two times less than adults. But by making your restaurant more kid friendly you could increase traffic up to 25%. That’s a lot for a little person.
If the revenue doesn't come from the amount children eat, where does it come from? Quite simply, the power they possess.
Parents are more likely to eat at restaurants where they know their little darlings will feel comfortable and happy (and let’s face facts; this also leaves Mum and Dad in peace to enjoy their meal).
On the whole, people with kids coming to restaurants don’t tend to stay very long. If your restaurant isn’t kid friendly, chances are they won’t come at all.
Establishing your premises as kid friendly could also secure that special place in their hearts. Children get their eating habits from a young age. Most tend to keep these behaviours when they are adults. If they like your restaurant as a kid then chances are they will still like it as a grown up.
If the pulling power of one is strong, imagine the magnitude of many! Catering for kids’ birthday parties and family gatherings will show in the revenue takings.
It’s safe to say, although there are many types of cuisines out there, restaurants ultimately are going to get grouped into two types; Family friendly and non family friendly. It’s that simple.
Parents appreciate restaurants that make the effort to make all family members comfortable whilst there.
If your restaurant isn’t currently kid-friendly and you want it to be, then consider making the following changes or introductions to your place:
Kid Friendly Menus
Probably the first and most important area to look at. Gone are the days of smaller portion burgers and chips. Now, everyone is more knowledgeable about food and its effect on the body. Especially a child’s.
Parents will appreciate healthy food offerings. If it’s organic and locally sourced. Even better. Let them know this on the menu.
Remember who you are catering for. Kids are still kids, on the whole they don’t tend to be adventurous eaters. So hold on to the dried cuttlefish with chilies a little longer. Think about dishes such as
Small pizzas topped with vegetables
Grilled chicken tenders with sweet potato wedges
Baked mac and cheese with vegetables
Pasta with cherry tomato sauce and shaved cheese
Any dish you offer needs to not be too hot, salty or fatty. Also, take care and pay attention to portion size.
Consider a colorful menu to showcase your dishes. For kids who are not of reading age include an image of the dish so they can pick themselves.
Even those who aren’t parents know that a bored kid is a ticking time bomb. Throw in the fact that they could also be hungry means at any second we might all be witnessing that most feared tantrum.
Providing some sort of distraction will buy you that much needed time to delay any potential meltdown.
A few suggestions are
Double up the kids’ menu by turning it into a colouring or activity sheet
Provide separate play area with floor cushions and simple (non noisy) toys
A little activity pack containing stickers, colouring crayons and little colouring booklet.
Little people will require some essential gear which makes everyone’s lives easier.
These will include
Kid size cutlery and crockery
Changing table (for those with really little people)
Stool in bathrooms (to help them reach the sink)
A kid-friendly restaurant is really quite a joyful thing. Kids are happy. Parents are happy. With the extra sales, restaurant owners are happy too!
CMO and crisp hoarder