More families are dining out than ever before and are becoming one of the largest consumer groups for restaurants. Families are an important segment of the population to target. If you are not targeting families, you are likely losing business to the competition because they are many family restaurants, both individually owned and popular chains such as Olive Garden. So how do you get more families into your restaurant?
One of the best ways to attract families to your restaurant is to make them more kid-friendly. This includes having a children’s menu. The children’s menu should have popular meals that appeal to kids such as burgers, tacos and ravioli. Parents are also becoming more concerned about child obesity, so offer some healthy children’s dishes such as Turkey Sloppy Joes which has less saturated fat than Beef ones. The portions should also be smaller since children don’t eat the same amount as adults, which will save you money.
We all know kids get bored easily so it’s a good idea to have coloring maps or other fun things they can do at the table to keep them occupied quietly. You can offer coloring books with crayons or other toys, but be sure to ask the parents first. Offer free wi-fi to your customers. This will cost you very little if you already have internet in your restaurant and will make the parents and the kids happy as the parents can check email or surf the web and the kids can play online games.
It’s also important to have the right furniture. Be sure to have high chairs and booster chairs for infants and toddlers. Make sure you have plenty because if you run out then you will lose business. Restaurant booths are very popular with families because it gives them added privacy and comfort. It’s also good to have square restaurant tables instead of round tables so if you need to seat a large party you can move them together and create a larger seating space. Your waiting area should also have some seating such as a standard waiting bench. Have a changing area in the restrooms.
Some of your customers may have children with allergies, or the parents may be more picky about what they feed them. So be sure to advertise any food that may have nuts and offer gluten free alternatives. Offer an alternative dish and be willing to provide information on ingredients and nutrition. Put your menu online on your website or social media page.
Serve children drinks with lids and straws to prevent spills. Provide sippy cups for toddlers, and don’t fill cups to the brim. Safety should be your number one concern, so post a friendly sign to any areas that could be a hazard to children such as an open kitchen range, kitchen access or basement stairs. Make sure the restroom and exit signs are clearly marked. Also children’s meals should not have spicy food or meat with small bones which could be choking hazard. Make sure hot dishes are cooled down to the right temperature before serving.
You may want to also consider a kids eat free day or discount for children. This is a great way to get new business to your restaurant and they will probably come back. You won’t lose too much since children eat smaller portions and the ingredients for kids food are usually cheaper. By following these simple steps you can increase your business by attracting more families.