Looking for ways to make your restaurant more kid-friendly? Not a bad idea considering 60% of Canadians buy their food from restaurants at least once a week. Making your restaurant kid-friendly can help you attract more of those customers, while encouraging them to stay longer (or even better, order from your place more often). Plus, with the kids on holiday break soon, this is the perfect time to get ahead of the game and implement some of these tips so you can bring in more of that sweet holiday hustle.
- Create a kid’s menu.
Let’s face it, whether dine-in or delivery, throwing chicken nuggets, burgers, and hotdogs on the menu will make you a winner with the wee ones. However, considering that more and more Canadians are actively trying to eat healthy (58% in fact), having some more nutritious options on the menu can help attract more families. Consider adding baked chicken fingers, turkey burgers, or whole grain spaghetti & meatballs to your main attractions, while adding some veggie sticks and dip or apple slices and yogurt to the sides.
- Bring on the entertainment.
It’s no secret that kids get bored easily. And when they do, they turn to their parents for entertainment. This leads to shortened visits and a less-than-optimal experience all around — that’s why a little table entertainment can go a long way. We’re not suggesting hiring a balloon twister or a caricature artist (though they aren’t bad ideas), but just having a colouring page or two and some crayons will do the trick. Even consider tabletop games or activities — anything that’ll keep them busy until their meal comes. Delivery order? Just because they’re not in the restaurant doesn’t mean you can’t throw a colouring book in the bag. Little extras can stand out in a big way.
- Get staff onboard.
Given that the majority of restaurant staff are typically on the younger side, a lot of them won’t have experience working with children. When it comes to training staff on handling tables with children, encourage them to be welcoming, patient, and understanding. If you have a family that comes in to order takeout, they can offer the kids something to play with while they wait. When possible, staff should address children directly, especially when ordering, just make sure they watch for parental cues (for example, if the parent wants to jump in and order for them).
- Spread the word.
Kid-friendly dishes? Check. Kid-approved activities? Check. Kid-trained staff? Check. Now it’s time to let people know your restaurant is fun for the whole family. Shout it from the rooftops, announce it on the socials, create a little callout blurb on your website to let visitors know you’ve got family-friendly fare. Remember, new customers can come from far and wide so the more places you can spread the word, the better.
- Stock up.
If you’re going to cater to kiddos, make sure you’re equipped to handle it. Have booster seats and highchairs ready in case families with babies come in. You may also want to consider plastic plates, smaller cutlery, and cups with lids to keep accidents to a minimum. Sending out a family delivery or takeout order? Throw in some extra napkins and wet naps to make parents’ lives a little easier. Those small gestures can make all the difference.
- Provide family-friendly discounts.
With living expenses on the rise, families are always looking for ways to save money wherever they can. By offering a special family meal bundle or a discount for families (say, of three or more) or a “kids under 12 eat free” promo, you’ll attract more of them. Plus, this is something that can work on all sides of the coin — dine-in, takeout, or delivery.
At the end of the day, the more fun kids have eating out, the more likely it is that they will ask their parents to go back (or order takeout from again). And with most parents preferring the path of least resistance, there’s a great chance that if you make a good impression, you’ll have those customers for life.