The quick guide to attracting families to your restaurant
September 27, 2020
Article Overview10min read
Families remain a huge target market for restaurants given the higher average spend and frequency in dining out. The key to appealing families today is to focus on delivering a great experience for everyone involved and not just on developing a great menu for kids.
Moreover, kids today have sophisticated palates, and parents have come to expect more than the usual grilled cheese, hotdogs, and chicken tenders on the kid’s menu. As hospitality consultants will tell you, this means that family-friendly restaurants will need to be more innovative and interesting when it comes to creating an enjoyable dining experience for the entire family.
Your restaurant should have a second menu offering children-friendly options as well as portion sizes curated for children. Recent concerns over child obesity have led parents to be wary about feeding their kids unhealthy junk food.
This concern signals a gradual shift towards healthier meal options and family-friendly restaurants must be sure to heed the signs. Baked jacket potato, fresh fruit, grilled chicken, and salad are a few healthy options that restaurants must consider adding to their kids’ menu depending on the cuisine.
Celebrate Local Sports Events
Don’t limit family dining to only single families. It is common for groups to head out for a bite, especially after events like a sports match or training. Your establishment could set itself apart by offering discounts or promotions to families who have children wearing sports uniforms.
The restaurant could also take it a step further by sponsoring a local team. This could result in the restaurant’s logo being flown as a banner as well as the restaurant logo on the team jersey.
Furthermore, you could offer a giveaway or raffle during the game. When the brand pushes out an image as a community-driven and family-friendly business, parents will come to realize that this is a restaurant that will be fun for the whole family.
Keeping kids entertained should be one of your biggest priorities. Assuring parents that you can handle children and keep them occupied so that the adults enjoy the evening is important when it comes to convincing family-based customers to return. If your establishment has plenty of space, soft play zones can keep restless kids busy.
For younger children, crayons and coloring packs can help them exercise their creativity and stay entertained. Certain restaurants include gaming consoles and tablets that are accessible for children but the downsides of this approach are the increased upfront costs as well as opposition from parents who may be attempting to reduce screen time for their children.
An upcoming strategy that has seen success is offering “parents eat free” promotions instead of “kids eat free” ones. Offers such as free entrées with each purchase of an item from the kids’ menu will entice parents back to the restaurant. Not only does this take a new approach to an old and worn-out strategy that everybody is familiar with but also offers parents more savings because adult options are generally priced higher than kids’ meals.
Children’s covers, high chairs, disposable plastic plates, cups, and paper bibs are essentials if you are to handle young diners successfully as recommended by hospitality consultants. Additionally, your employees must be trained on greeting children as well as handling child-friendly equipment so that they can quickly set up the table to accommodate all the guests.
For instance, a restaurant serving buffet-style may need an area where food is presented at the kids’ heights, allowing them to serve themselves. Such proactive actions show customers that your restaurant is kid-friendly and that you are well equipped to handle little ones.