Making your restaurant kid friendly is beneficial for both you and your guests. Taking some steps to make your restaurant comfortable for parent and child alike means larger parties and increased business for you, and a more enjoyable and stress free meal for your patrons with children. A few often over-looked considerations can go a long way for your customers. Follow these steps and start paving the path to being the go-to family restaurant in your area!
Have a Kid’s Menu
Most adults don’t want to pay full price for an adult meal that their child will only eat a quarter of and probably not even enjoy. Put together a special kid’s menu with a few smaller portioned dishes of food kids like, such as macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, almost anything chicken, and some healthy options too. By offering a kid’s menu with some child friendly dishes you are showing parents that you are a family friendly restaurant and care about making their kids happy as well as keeping their bill low.
Child and Infant Seating
Be sure you have plenty of high chairs and booster seats on hand for toddlers and some car seat holders for infants; you’d be surprised how many restaurants are left scrambling when more than 3 kids need accommodation. Families have been known to walk out of a restaurant when proper child seating options are unavailable and even file complaints. Beyond avoiding conflict though, having high chairs and car seat holders on hand will keep both baby and parent happy and comfortable while they dine.
A Quiet Front or Back Sitting Area
No matter how cozy your restaurant is, at times children are bound to get fussy. Having a space either in the front or back of the restaurant for parents to take restless or crying kids is a real plus for both the families and the other patrons. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just a sitting area or quiet corner in the back can be a lifesaver for parents with a screaming child.
Promotions for Kids
In order to get the parents in the door, attract them with some great promotions geared toward their children. The higher ticket items on the menu will be for the adults to order, but as the number of adults eating out continues to climb, so too does the number of parents looking for a place to bring along the kiddos.
Some popular promotions are “Kids Eat Free” nights or themed kid’s dishes. Although kid’s meals are not usually the most lucrative, promotions to bring in the whole family will pay off in more way than one.
Give Kids Something to Do While They Wait
There is a reason the ol’ crayon and paper is a staple at the kid’s table. Children get fussy when sitting in the same place for a long time, especially when they are hungry. Crayons and paper are a great distractor, as is a game room with some toys or arcade games to keep them busy. Some restaurants even bring out a ball of dough for the kids to play with while they wait, and you don’t have to panic when a piece or two goes in their mouth!
Train Your Staff
Be sure that your staff knows how to be kid friendly and accommodate guests with children. The first step is for staff to ask how to make the family comfortable when they are being seated, such as offering high chairs or car seat holders. If you have any entertainment for the kids while they wait, make the family aware of it when they arrive as well.
Your staff also needs to know to bring out orders for kids as soon as possible because kids tends to get fussier the longer they wait for their food. Staff should have some recommendations in their back pocket for both kid’s meals and which appetizers the whole family can enjoy. Lastly, simply being patient and friendly with children can mean a lot in making the parents feel comfortable and welcome in your restaurant.
Adding a few amenities for kids will go a long way in encouraging families to patronize your restaurant. A complete overhaul is not necessary; simply planning ahead for children’s needs and making sure your staff is trained to accommodate families will make dining with kids a breeze. And hey, maybe your guests will tell a few friends, too?
Making Your Restaurant Kid Friendly
Posted on October 4, 2016