If you have children then you probably have stories to share about experiences going out to eat with them. Most of the time children enjoy eating out with their family at a restaurant to celebrate their birthday or just to enjoy some family time out of the house. However, most parents will tell you it isn’t always easy to keep everyone happy during the event. Eating in a restaurant that is well designed for children does make it much easier for them though
Anyone that is thinking of owning a restaurant really needs to keep that in mind. Of course not all restaurants are a place to take children but for those that do allow them, it needs to be a good experience. Family dining is a huge part of the market and if you play your cards right you will be able to take advantage of it. Parents are very loyal to those restaurants where they feel comfortable taking their children for a good meal.
You will be surprised at how many restaurants hire staff that have no clue how to handle families. They seem very overwhelmed by a table with so many little people. Make sure you train them in this area so they can take good care of families coming in for a meal. Remember that they are representing your business and if they don’t do an excellent job then you will be losing out on repeat customers. You don’t have to make your restaurant into a child’s play area for it to work well though. Simple things like offering extra napkins and drinks with lids make a huge difference.
Offer pricing for families too so that they can have the budget to eat in your restaurant. Sometimes there are great family deals such as two large pizzas, breadsticks, and a pitcher of soda. This is much easier for the family than individual orders and it is more affordable. Parents aren’t going to be happy about being charged for a full price meal when their child eats very little. Offer a children’s menu with some tasty selections for the little guys at a very cheap price.
It is a good idea to offer meals for older children as well. They may want the same types of foods as the adults but definitely not the same portions of it. Make sure all of the kids meals you offer are a great price too. You will be surprised at how many buffet places don’t offer a discount for children. As a result though many parents don’t return with their children to experience it again.
Children often get impatient when they are waiting for food, so offer something fun for them to do. It doesn’t cost very much to offer a place mat with a few games or a coloring page with crayons. Parents will be able to relax as they wait for their food because their children will be entertained with these activities. Some restaurants offer games on the table to where you jump pegs over each other or you create things out of links. These types of games offer a fun way for the whole family to spend time together while they wait for their food.
Make sure you offer plenty of accommodations for children when it comes to seating as well. Booster seats are the perfect way for smaller children to be high enough to reach the table. You also need to have plenty of high chairs available to meet the demand for them during peak business hours. Make sure each of the high chairs is in good condition and has safety buckles that work so the child isn’t at risk of getting hurt.
Cleaning up from children in a restaurant doesn’t have to be difficult. High chairs and booster seats can be wiped down after each use. Have a quite push vacuum available so clean up is easy and it won’t disturb other customers. It is very easy to make a restaurant friendly for children. If you don’t have any of your own though this is something you may miss as a restaurant owner. Parents will pick up on this issue quickly and it is going to influence their decision to dine with you or not. Don’t lose out on your share of this huge market when you can invest a small amount in making your restaurant the best place to eat with children in tow.