Children are gracing our world – I’m sure that you will agree with me .
But whether they belong in a restaurant, in your restaurant? You bet they do, if the catering facility suited them! The youngest guests can become your best guests!
Probably, you think that I’m kidding ! How they can become your best guests when the average child, depending on age, eat two or three times less than adults?
Well, they can! Let me explain to you this incredible power that these little creatures have – the power that you can very easily turn into a real business.
First and most important is to understand why children are an interesting target group of restaurant guests. Kids are strongly influenced in habits of their parents. Because parents often decide to eat where their little ones feel comfortable and happy.
Family with children often do not stay for a long time in your restaurant or do not visit it at all if your restaurant is not kids friendly.
From an early age, children learn how to behave, and acquire eating habits that will remain when they become adults – if they like your restaurant now , they will probably like it for aten years.
Restaurants are often used for celebrations such as kid’s birthday parties or for family gatherings. Consequently, children and their spending power should not be underestimated. Children are (besides women) best consumers that can become your best guests if their parents are considering that your catering facility is good enough for whole family.
“Kids friendly” Restaurants are Very Popular
Restaurants that are considering as kids friendly are playing an important role in our society today. Going through the various restaurants, but also as I read family forums and portals , I came to the conclusion that the restaurants can be divided in family restaurant and non family restaurants. I think that differences between those two groups of restaurants will be even more drastic few years ago, and that parents of young children in the near future will know exactly where to go to lunch with their children and where not to go. This fact encourages many parents, because they like to be relaxed when visiting the restaurant with their children.
Parents appreciated restaurants whre restaurant staff treat their kids like little princesses and princes. In addition to the quality of the restaurant offer, catering facility must have perfect atmosphere for children and parents, and that is why they are seeking for ” kids and family friendly” restaurants when deciding to spend money for lunch in the restaurant – and go there more often. Maybe this is the reason why the number of families who eat out increases by 15 % in last 20 years. (source).
Me personally as a mother of two kids would rather visit the restaurant where I know that my kids will enjoy too.
What could be better than knowing that your baby feels good, that he is not bored when visiting a restaurant and all of us enjoying together?
Customize your restaurant offer for your youngest guest
Caterers around the world are very familiar with the fact that children have a major impact on their business. If you feel that your facility has the potential to become “child friendly” restaurant, then you do not need to do much to become kids friendly restaurant. Use the following tips and ideas that will help you on your way.
Kids Friendly Restaurant Menu Ideas
First of all you will need a special offer that includes a children’s friendly delicious and healthy meals. Today parents are afraid of the epidemic called obesity, and they want to give healthier meals to their children. This does not mean that you need to remove from menus fries and hot dogs, but certainly it means that you need to include healthy foods in it like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta instead of regular pasta, low-fat milk, fish or chicken. Parents will certainly appreciate food from farm to table, organic food and everything that include “healthy” in its name. I’ll help you to plan the perfect kids menu that includes meals that each child would be happy to try. For the youngest menu pick some of these dishes:
- Carrot soup and toast with cheese
- Small pizza with broccoli and roasted red peppers
- Sandwich with tuna and sweet corn
- Triangles of pastry filled with peas and potatoes
- Chicken sticks with tomato sauce
- Grilles cauliflower with topped cheese
- Vegetable rolls with egg
- Deep fried salmon patties with mashed peas
- Rice with chicken and mixed vegetables
- Grilled veggie sticks
- Pasta in tomato sauce and grated cheese
- Slices of sweet potato pie
- Salad with avocado, mozzarella, tomato and pasta
- Homemade sorbet melon
- Muffins with orange and blueberry
- Milk shake with strawberry or other fruit
- Cream brûlée with mango and yogurt
Tip: Pay special attention how your food looks like on a plate, children would eat even raw vegetables if it is served nicely and parents will come again for more that’s for sure. With a little effort and imagination each plate can look like of art.
Pay special attention to the following:
- Meals quantity should be adapted to children
- Food should not be over-salted, too hot, too fatty
- Without the permission of their parents don’t give any sweets to children
Kid’s Special Menus
Print special menu just for kids and make it attractive. In this way you will boost the value of your restaurant offer just for children. When creating a kid’s menu, note the following:
Menu Design should animate each little guest. Make it colorful. Design of special menus for kids can be design as a coloring worksheets or short story with pictures that will entertain children while they waiting for ordered food. You may also use in your design crosswords, optical illusions or word searching game as a fun at the table. For those children who are not reading yet insert photos of kid’s meals, how it looks on plate so they could by themselves decide what they want to eat. Be sure that food looks attractive to kids and that is served exactly as it looks on pictures.Be creative with the names of children’s food and drinks.
Create combo menu just for kids. Chose the most popular kids meal with fresh juice and dessert of your choice and of course at popular price.
You may also put in your prix fixe menu kids friendly food.
Prices are also essential. Kids portion should be smaller so the price should be ½ or â…” of the cost of regular meals from the menu.
If you do not have sufficient resources to create a special children’s menu, print it on simple A4 paper with interesting motifs or figures that they can paint while waiting for their meal.
Creative Ideas For Kids Corner in Restaurant
They want to play and to express their creativity! You do not have to be a parent to know how kids are patient, especially when they are hungry! This could be nightmare for all your guests. To avoid this unwanted kids behavior make some creative corner for kids where they could play, read or draw. Depending on your financing and size of your restaurant you can make different kids corners.
Even if you don’t have budget for kids corner you still can make it. First decide which part of restaurant will become your restaurant kids corner. Make it visible from any restaurant point! This is very important for parents, so they can see their little one in every moment while they eating in your restaurant.
Put some big colorful pillows on the floor, bring some toys like lego, paper, washable colors, social games, coloring books etc. All these toys will attract children to play and to stay at one place.
If you have more money for this purpose you may create game room, where you will put few tablets with kids games applications. This would be interesting for kids under age 4.
If you have more space, or you have terrace or garden use it a as a kids playground. During the spring and summer nice weather will bring you many guest with kids if you put there swings, seesaws, slides, trampoline. Think about kids safety. Children need to play by responsibility of parents but you need to check your playground everyday is it safe place to play (no sharp objects, regular monitoring of place, to control toys, avoid small toys to prevent choking).
Restaurant Staff Who Gladly Serves Your Little Guests
Your restaurant staff should primarily learn to respect kids as an individual, or whole “kids friendly” concept makes absolutely no sense, if the waiter is impatient or in the worst case rude to kids. Train your staff how to behave with your little guests and time will tell whether they are doing their job properly or not. You’ll see, regular guests in your restaurant will have their favorite waiter and they will probably show that openly. Anyway, it will be enough to look at the face of your little customer when speaking with waiter and you’ll know does he enjoys talking to him/her or not. They do not pretend.
Kids want to be treated like adult persons, they love to imitate behavior of adults and therefore your staff should:
- Look straight in the eyes children and their parentswhen they ordering
- First ask them what they want to order (following signals of parents whether they agree with the order)
- Kindly show them where is a game room and playground for children
- Ask parents if they have special requests such as bigger table, feeding chair if they have a small child, etc.)
Every parent will appreciate patience, flexibility and kindness of your staff to their kids and probably if they liked your food they will come and visit your restaurant again.
Necessary Equipment for Kids Friendly Restaurants
If you want to have kids friendly restaurant where parents with kids will enjoy you will need those kid’s equipment will be required:
- High chairs / feeders
- Children’s dining set (plates, spoons, cups …)
- Changing table for toddlers in the bathroom or a separate room for changing
- Hair dryer – if small children sweat when playing
- Put a small stool under the sink in the toilet so the child could stand on it to wash hands easily
Promotion of Kids Friendly Restaurant
Are you ready to provide to your guest more than a pleasant environment and the necessary equipment for kid? Think about these special deals for whole family and your restraurant promotions.
- “Happy Hour for Kids” – Organize one day a week when children will be able to get their favorite dessert or a delicious fresh juice for free, or even a whole meal?
- Reward children who have completed the school year with excellent grade with toys.
- Be sure to include food delivery, which includes healthy meals. Do not forget packaging – make it attractive for kids.
- Organize kid’s birthday parties with kids entertainment such as kids karaoke or crazy clown.
- Stimulate children to draw up their favorite meal using ingredients that you have in your offer. You will not believe how they can be creative!
- Sunday all day: Children under 12 years eat for free! This option will delight every parent.
Remember: if the kids are not happy in your restaurant their parents would not be either. The key is to find a balance in order to meet the restaurant offer for your adult and small guests and you will be happy to see the effect on your bottom line.
Could you say that your restaurant is kids friendly?
What your restaurant provide to your little guest and how you make them happy?