If you operate a restaurant that you want to be family-friendly, then you need to do a little more than just welcome families. You need to do things to make sure the restaurant actually appeals to kids and to ensure the setup makes it easy for parents to bring their children in. Here are some tips you can follow to make your restaurant more kid-friendly.
1. Offer an affordable kids' menu.
Even if your menu already contains dishes that you figure kids will enjoy, you should introduce a dedicated kids' menu. Make sure the items on the menu are affordable; this will attract parents, who don't typically want to pay a lot for the small portions most kids eat. Avoid trying to make the items on the kids' menu upscale or fancy in any way. Kids might turn up their nose if you try to make herb-seasoned chicken tenders or a Cajun burger. Simple, familiar items without a lot of seasoning are best.
2. Include booths in the design.
Families often prefer to dine in booths since they can more easily keep the kids contained. They can put the child in the inside of the booth and sit on the outside. It's easier to help kids cut their food and such when sitting right next to them in a booth, too. Include more booths in your floor plan and preferentially give them to families who come in.
3. Offer some form of entertainment for kids.
The classic choice is to offer a coloring sheet and some crayons for kids to play with as they sit and wait for their meals. But you can get creative with this! Give each child a balloon animal when they sit down. You could put a container of Silly Putty at each table, or leave a stack of children's playing cards on each table.
4. Stock up on kid-friendly accessories.
Make sure you have the items you need for little ones to have a good dining experience. Stock up on high chairs for the really little kids and on booster seats for slightly older ones. Buy some colorful napkins and plenty of small drink cups — preferably with lids. You may also want to invest in kid-size plates and kid-size silverware to make dining easier.
With the tips above, you can make your restaurant more appealing to children, thereby hopefully attracting more families to dine with you.