Many of your diners are also parents. When they choose to eat as a family in a public setting, they will generate a much larger bill than when they eat as a couple. But they will choose to spend that extra money as a restaurant that caters to children.
That is why the versatility of your venue should be a key consideration for restaurant owners & managers. To maximize the success of your restaurant, you must make it kid-friendly for customers.
Most restaurants that cater to families have experienced a child’s screaming tantrum and frazzled parents who wolf down their meal and proceed to chase their toddler around the dining room. While restaurants can’t control kids' behavior, they can make the whole dining out process a lot easier for parents.
Not only will parents appreciate the help, but they will also be more likely to come back, even after the kids stop having public meltdowns. Some places to focus on when making your restaurant more kid-friendly include:
Many restaurant staffers are college students who don’t have children. They don't have a clue what it is like to eat out with young children. To overcome that, train your staff to be as helpful as possible, starting the moment a family walks through the door. If possible, families should be given a larger table (a family of four could be given a table of six, for instance) to give the kids room to color or play.
Nothing irks parents more than being crammed around a table, trying to find room for all the infant and toddler paraphernalia that is necessary when leaving the house, and running out of leg room in the process. The staff should also be trained to treat kids with the same courtesy and respect as older patrons. A server should never show annoyance or disrespect for a child, no matter how bad their behavior may be. Remember, the kids are customers, too.
Along with offering highchairs and booster seats, staff should offer crayons, paper, and toys. Before throwing a basket of Army men down on the table for the kids, however, servers should ask parents if toys at the table are okay. Ditto for the coloring supplies.
Many restaurants keep special kid packs, like boxed crayons and placemats. Those are ideal. Sippy cups are also a necessity for any kid-friendly restaurant.
This will prevent having a two-year-old try to take a drink from a highball glass or pint. Some chain restaurants provide balloons, but that is not the best idea. Not only are they a choking hazard for young children, but they are also annoying to have at the table and in the car.
The days of French fries and chicken fingers as the primary (only?) meal on a children's menu are fast-fading in the wake of the national obesity crisis in the United States. Many restaurants are offering all sorts of healthy alternatives for kids, including fresh fruits and vegetables and non-fried items like baked chicken or pasta with red sauce. These are wonderful trends that should only become more popular.
Here are some restaurant kid menu items that offer a healthy alternative to French fries and hot dogs:
As parents grow more aware of the effects of unhealthy food on their kids, they will appreciate your healthier menu options.