Although it’s often the center of attention, a customer’s dining experience is influenced by much more than the quality of the food. Everything from the ambiance of the restaurant to the friendliness of your wait staff plays an important role in determining whether diners plan on coming back for more. So it’s no surprise that stories of unruly children are enough to make many restaurant owners hold their breath every time a family walks through their doors.
Follow the tips below to create a kid-friendly environment in your restaurant to boost business from parents of young diners without compromising the experience of other customers.
If you’re eager to make your restaurant more inviting to families with children, then adding a kids’ menu may seem like a no-brainer. Creating one that is adored by parents and children alike is a different story. Start off by catering to health-conscious diners with fresh alternatives to traditional kid-friendly meals such as pizza and chicken nuggets. Remember to also include gluten- or dairy-free options for kids with allergies or dietary restrictions.
Once you’ve perfected a kids’ menu of your own, make sure it’s available to all of your customers, not just those who dine in. After all, soccer games and birthday parties can fill up a family’s schedule in the blink of an eye. Offer the convenience of your kids’ menu for customers who want to save themselves a trip to your restaurant by ordering delivery.
You can’t have a kid-friendly environment without the right seating to go with it. Stock up on high chairs and booster seats to ensure all of your smallest guests can easily reach their food. Do parents a favor by sitting them at a table with extra space for diaper bags, bottles and other items that might get in the way. Your servers will appreciate not having to sidestep strollers and bags as they deliver food to nearby tables.
Keep your restaurant clean with sippy cups that will prevent little diners from accidentally spilling their drinks. Small utensils are another great way to help out toddlers struggling to handle forks and knives. You may also consider serving kid-friendly meals on plastic, BPA-free plates that won’t shatter if dropped.
In the same way that you accommodate families who dine in, do your best to create a kid-friendly environment for customers who order delivery. Include wet wipes and disposable bibs with delivery orders from the kids’ menu in addition to placing each meal in kid-appropriate packaging. Supplying families with cups, plates and utensils that suit kids will not only save parents the trouble searching for their own dinnerware, but it will also provide children with a comfortable dining experience.
It’s no secret that kids get bored pretty easily, and figuring out a way to grab and hold their attention is a challenge to say the least. Create a kid-friendly environment your diners won’t soon forget by collecting a large selection of crayons, coloring books and toys you can pass out to families as they sit down.
Also consider including toys or games with delivery orders so that kids enjoy themselves regardless of whether their family dines in or orders out. This also offers the opportunity to turn games into a loyalty program – for each game, kids can collect stickers, and once they’ve collected a certain amount, offer a free meal or dessert. Keeping kids entertained throughout the entire meal will boost your reputation among parents in addition to making your restaurant a go-to destination for families.