With the trend of “healthy eating” on the rise, restaurants are being forced to reconsider their kids’ menus. According to a study by the NPD Group, parents are taking their kids out to eat less and less – meaning restaurants need to revise their game plans and become even more kid-friendly in order to retain customers with families. As picky and fussy as kids may be, they (and their parents) are a very important portion of restaurant patrons and can be a great source of revenue for restaurants seeking to be family-friendly. Luckily, developing a kid-friendly restaurant environment doesn’t require an overhaul of your restaurant equipment. All you need is a little preparation and proactivity:
1. Be Prepared
Before you examine your kids’ menu recipes, make sure that your restaurant facility is well-equipped to feed and entertain multiple families with children. High chairs and booster seats will come in handy for all ages of children who have a tough time sitting still. Be sure to clean and sanitize the high chairs and booster seats every evening, as we all know too well the ensuing disasters when dealing with children and finger foods.
You should also check that your walkways and pathways are clear and wide enough for strollers and car seats to easily make their way through. If you plan the layout of your restaurant seating out ahead of time, your servers won’t have to scramble to get around wayward strollers during peak business times. When purchasing dining room furniture, keep in mind the safety precautions you should take if you know that there may be little toddlers on the loose.
Children can only stay in their seats for so long once their appetites are satiated, meaning your premises should also avoid hazards like easy access to the kitchen, where the hot cooking ranges and sharp tools are. Easy-to-clean materials like wooden tables and leather seats as well as vinyl tile or heavy-duty carpeting will make for quick and simple damage control when kids get a little chaotic.
2. Address the Menu
There’s a reason that coloring and simple activity menus are so popular—it’s because they work! What better way is there for children to entertain themselves while parents make dinner decisions than with some paper and a few crayons? You may even substitute the coloring menus for large sheets of butcher paper used to cover tables, making clean up easy and offering busy children an even bigger canvas.
Beyond the fun games and pictures on the menu, though, are the actual menu items. With the growing trend in health-conscious eating, parents will become more mindful when letting their kids choose from your kids’ menu. Help facilitate the agreement between parent and child by offering tasty and healthy menu items. While deep-fried chicken tenders are a popular finger food among children, you could always make some concessions and offer some delectable fried veggies instead. For more resources and information on how to create a healthy, kid-friendly menu, check out the Kids Live Well program by the National Restaurant Association or see our blog post on how to make your menu healthier!
By becoming an efficiently family-friendly restaurant, you can open your doors to a much wider audience and help families experience the joy in dining together. All it takes is some thought and preparation to make your restaurant business even better. Share your favorite healthy, kid-friendly recipes with us on Facebook or Twitter!