What do kids-friendly restaurants have that your restaurant business doesn’t? Assuming that your restaurant is not the top pick of families for their lunches and dinners, thirty percent increase in revenue that is. This makes a huge sense, especially if you’re going to account for the 11 billion population of ages 0 – 14-year-olds.
Now, making your restaurant child-friendly may appear not too easy. Changing your theme into a more family-friendly setting can hugely affect your business. While six out of ten diners based their decision on whether a restaurant is kid-friendly or not, some diners enjoy their dining experience without the hassle of tantrums and unruly kids. And because of this, to get the best of both worlds, you have to carefully balance your options and make sure that you’ll still offer the utmost customer service even if you make your restaurant kid-friendly.
Through this article, you’ll learn how to meticulously pick your way into providing your customers one of the best child-friendly restaurants in your local community, and you can start to see how it will benefit your restaurant business.
Main Benefit of Making Your Restaurant Kid-Friendly
Aside from seeing the numbers above, 43% of parents (diners) give their kids the authority to decide on which restaurant they’ll dine in. Families and kids are considered to be one of the most profitable customer segments in the Restaurant Industry and making your restaurant appeals to families will surely boost foot traffic into your restaurant that will lead to a huge increase in sales and revenue.
Keep in mind that not allowing children into your restaurants also restricts their parents, guardians, and companions into your restaurant. Keeping your restaurant kid-friendly can also improve customer engagement and brand recognition with your restaurant. If the kids love your restaurant, then their parents, guardians, and companions will most love it too (because they’ll be convinced to come over and over by their kids).
If you keep on providing them a satisfactory service, you can slowly generate customer loyalty from these families. The parents or their guardians would love your restaurant not just because of the good food, but because of the service you provide them that helps them enjoy their dining experience without worrying about their kids.
Huge Drawback of Kid-Friendly Restaurants
Technically, this factor will not put you and your restaurant business at a disadvantage. You can treat this as a huge hiccup while trying to transition your restaurant into a more family-friendly one. And just like any transition, it requires a huge effort from your end.
Transforming your restaurant into a child-friendly one requires you to generate kid-friendly restaurant ideas that will ensure the success of your transition. You have to stay updated on what are the current trends that keep the kids engaged and entertained, what are the tools and equipment needed to complete your restaurant’s transformation, how will you market your new adopted concept, and many more concerning family-friendly restaurants.
If you want to pursue this transition, make sure that you’re not just doing it because of its benefits, but you genuinely love what you’re doing. Proper research and data can help you but if you’re not enjoying the process, it will soon be too demanding for you and you may get tired in the middle of the process – which will gravely affect your and your restaurant’s success.
Helpful Tips on How to be a Kids-Friendly Restaurant
Make the most out of this business opportunity by making your restaurant more kid and family-friendly. Here are some workable helpful tips to make your transition easier and smoother.
Equip Your Restaurant
Furnish your restaurant with child-friendly tools, equipment, and furnishings. High chairs are not the only child-friendly equipment a family with children needs, they also require larger tables, booster seats, and enough space for them to feel comfortable. You’re not just catering to kids, but you’re also making sure that the whole family will have a great dining experience with you.
You may also want to purchase kid-friendly items such as sippy cups, cup lids, and cutleries that are suitable for children. Ensure that all the equipment and tools you’ll provide are of high-quality and safe for children. Kids are prone to accidents, and once they’re inside your restaurant, it is your job as a restaurant owner to help their companions to keep them away from it.
Train Your Staff to be Child-Friendly
If you aim to be listed as the restaurant that caters to families and kids, then you must also provide a service that will reflect your goal. Working on a restaurant often leaves restaurant staff tired, and their patience will be tested a lot if you start welcoming kids and families into your restaurant.
Your restaurant staff must show to the adults (or their companions) that you can accommodate the needs and demands of their kids. And communicating with a tiny human is not easy! Serving families and kids requires proper training and effective communication skills. Make sure that before you open your restaurant into becoming a more family-friendly one, you’ll orient your whole team properly.
Given adequate training, they can serve every type of customer in a manner that you want. Your service can make or break your restaurant business, that’s why aside from hiring the best employees, you also have to train and hone them according to how you want their service to be. Share with them your business ideologies and philosophies for them to properly align their goals with yours.
Offer Kid-Friendly Menu
This section is a bit tricky. Kids often prefer foods that are not the healthiest, and that’s the last thing you want to serve them. But you also have to make sure that they will enjoy dining with your restaurant. Make sure that you’ll consult a proper dietician and work together with your kitchen staff to pull this off.
Seventy-four percent of parents are quick to purchase unhealthy food snacks for their child because it’s accessible. Observe how many fast-food chains trick parents and kids into buying the unhealthiest food item on their menu by serving it with a toy. Take this as a learning opportunity and discover ways how you can offer healthier options for kids’ menus. You have to make them think that healthy food can be delicious also, and their parents will surely thank you for making them finish that broccoli dish.
Offering a brand new menu for these tiny humans is also considered risky because their bodies are not mature enough to eat every type of food. You have to consider a lot of factors that can affect the safety of their meals. Food safety will always be your priority when you’re operating a restaurant, but you must be extra cautious when you’re offering a kids menu.
Kids are extra sensitive and they easily contract food-borne illnesses. Ensure that every food safety protocol will be observed and that the menu you’ll provide is approved by your local health officer.
You may also want to be clear with common allergies and allergens. Ideally, your staff is trained to ask and inform the family whether a specific food item on the kid’s menu used an ingredient that can trigger common allergies such as nuts, milk, and eggs. Put this on the description of kid’s menus as well to avoid misinformation.
Kids Menu Designs
Keep the little ones engaged with their menus while giving ample time for parents to decide on theirs by getting creative on your kid’s menu designs. Search for the most common loved characters, shapes, and colors then apply it to your kid’s menu. Separate the kid’s menu from your regular ones, and the kids will surely take their time looking into those characters.
It will also make them feel special because they have something that’s also given to their parents. There’s no greater feeling than feeling valued as an adult when you’re a child.
Now that you have kids’ menu ideas for your menu, the kitchen is set to serve these kid-friendly dishes. The last thing you have to look out for is that you also have to make sure that the meal looks kid-friendly.
Kids will not appreciate a garnish that’s carefully put together, but they will love it if their meal has a smiley face or a face of a character. People eat with their eyes first, keep that in mind. One thing to ensure that you’ll delight the kids is to make their dining experience fun and exciting. And seeing different shaped nuggets or a meal in different colors can give them simple joys.
Here are some kids’ menu ideas you can serve for your restaurant business.
- Fish sticks
- Macaroni & cheese
- Chicken tenders or nuggets
- Pancakes and waffles
Provide Family-Friendly Activities
Keep, not just the kids, but the whole family busy and entertained by providing them in-table entertainment. While waiting for their orders, you can give the kids crayons, papers, and pens. Board games are also ideal to keep them away from their tantrum buttons.
What’s great about this idea is that the adults will have one less thing to worry about. No running after their kids, less crying and tantrums because they’re happy playing with their stuff. It can be fun for the adults too.
You can also hire child-friendly entertainers such as balloon artists, face painters, storytellers, and magicians to make the ambiance more child-friendly. Through this idea, you can provide them with one of the best dining experiences they can ever have. Everyone is happy, entertained, and served great food.
Allocate a Child-Friendly Space
Child-friendly spaces are not just some spaces parents can leave their kids to play. It is also a place that will meet their needs and demands such as changing areas and a child-friendly sink.
For entertainment, a child-friendly space can be an arcade area, a playground area, or even a reading area. This is ideal for restaurants that have extra space and extra funds to make this concept happen. If you don’t have any of these, a piece of claw machine can be the crown jewel for you. And if you still can’t provide one, you can designate a freedom wall for kids (and kids at heart) to fully express themselves and again, keep them entertained while waiting for their orders.
And if you’ll provide child-friendly spaces, order, cleanliness, and maintenance should also be in order. You have to consider the liability and safety of these areas. Consult with professionals what are the permits that you need to produce, and how you can prepare your restaurant business in case of unwanted incidents.
These spaces should be well maintained and properly cleaned as well. Kids love playing and it can be messy. Avoid incidents connected to cleanliness and maintenance by properly disinfecting the said areas. Make sure you follow safety protocols before you entertain tiny guests for these spaces.
Introduce Kids Club and Loyalty Programs
Kid-friendly restaurants exert time and effort into producing kid-friendly restaurant ideas that can help with the growth of their restaurant business. They help the kids convince their parents into coming to your restaurant by launching a kids club and loyalty programs.
You can also do this as an introductory project for your restaurant. Create summer camp programs such as kiddie crew programs where kids can work on your restaurant as a crew or manager for a day. For loyalty programs, you can give the little ones exclusive cards and offer them perks as they come into your restaurant.
Tip: The loyalty program works for adults too!
Work on Your Marketing Strategy
Now that you know every basic and important element to make your restaurant child-friendly, you now have to let customers and diners know about your new concept. Make your marketing strategies communicate your new theme clearly and reach as wide as it can. Launch it on your social media pages, post it on your restaurant website, and you can even create a special jingle about it.
To sustain these marketing efforts, you can offer special discounts and even offer free meals for kids. Work on your inventory and see how you can manage this strategy. Make sure that all the costs and profit margins are aligned and suitable to make this strategy work.
Top Kids-Friendly Restaurants
From formal to casual restaurants, here’s a list of the most kids-friendly restaurants. Learn from them and see what are ideas you can adopt for your restaurant business.
Wahaca is considered one of the most child-friendly Mexican restaurants. They have vibrant colored furnishings and music to keep the children high-spirited. They also have a friendly staff that can lead your kid into a table football game where they can meet with other kids and keep themselves entertained.
They also have a well-varied kids menu that also offers gluten-free and vegan options.
Bar Boulud at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
Aside from their kid-friendly staff, irresistible menu, and great ambiance, this restaurant has a changing area for men. A great factor to attract moms!
Bread Street Kitchen
Kids under the age of twelve get a two-course meal from a menu designed by Gordon Ramsay’s daughter, Tilly. What makes it more enticing is that kids get it for free! There’s also a day dedicated for kids where they can have a pizza masterclass while the adults are enjoying their brunch or afternoon tea.
Meat-loving tiny humans will surely have a great time at Fazenda. This restaurant offers salads, slices of bread, and veggies while they wait for their meat. And by meat they mean, chicken thighs, pork sausages, a wide range of steaks, and lamb cuts. It’s a budget-friendly and kid-friendly place for an all-meat gastronomical experience.
Goring Dining Room
Their kids’ menu is not the most affordable but you’re getting the value of what you paid for. Their kids’ meals are carefully prepared to meet the nutrition value for kids. They also have a garden that serves as space for kids to run around and appreciate the place.
Their kids’ bento boxes keep children coming back for more. The adults can enjoy a sumptuous feast while the kids are being well accommodated by their staff. Their staff is also trained to recommend child-friendly dishes if they see the need for them.
Their kids’ menu is tough to beat. They offer a child-friendly portion of different dishes such as pasta, burgers, fish n chips, and even a do-it-yourself pizza kit. Their activities of choice are puzzles, which can be entertaining and helpful for a kid’s mind as well.
All-Star Lanes Holborn
This restaurant is just near the British Museum. They offer the best B’s in the alphabet, burgers, bacon, bowling, and booze. Well, the booze is for the adults but the kids will love the other three!
Franco Manca Covent Garden
Franco Manca Covent Garden offers an affordable family-friendly menu that’s composed of the best comfort foods- pizza, a drink, and ice cream.
This future-themed restaurant allows customers to order their favorite Asian cuisines through an iPad. It’s an experience for the whole family as they can also peek into the kitchen through their “chef cam”. Lastly, they provide activities such as retro video games.
It’s strategically placed near the market and park where children love to play and hang out. Whether they want to have a quick bite before or after they stroll the park, their finest fish and chips will surely keep the kids coming back for more. They offer child-friendly portions of their meals so adults can enjoy their meals without worrying about food waste.