Every restaurant will have its young visitors, especially over weekends at lunchtime and families eat out much more than they did 20 years ago. 

However, some restaurants are notoriously more family friendly than others but it’s advisable to always be prepared.  As with all diners, even the youngest need to be kept happy so making sure you have all the right equipment in place is paramount.  Happy children mean parents can enjoy their meal in peace and will encourage return custom because they know their cherubs are going to be well looked after.

The Alliance website has plenty of child-friendly products available for restaurants, hotels, catering facilities, coffee shops and cafes, from sturdy and secure highchairs to polycarbonate cutlery and crockery, even beakers!  Stock up on everything needed so you will never be caught short and read our article for more great tips and ideas on how to keep young diners cheerful.

Remember, they might not be paying the bill but they often are the deciding factor when parents are trying to choose a suitable restaurant for all the family to enjoy!  If parents know you are set-up well for families they will make your restaurant their preferred family-friendly destination.

Have The Right Equipment

To be family-friendly, the first thing you need is the right equipment.  Here’s a list of the essentials:

You might want to consider wipes and bibs, just in case!

Menu Items

Having the right essential equipment is half the battle, your menu needs to reflect that you are family friendly and most restaurants offer a specific kids menu.  Some restaurants prefer to offer half-size portions and this is perfectly acceptable as long as you have a selection of non-spicy and child-friendly items on the menu, such as pasta, burgers, fries, breaded chicken or fried fish for example. Finger foods are a good idea especially for children who can’t yet use cutlery so always offer nuggets, hot dogs, cucumber and carrot sticks.  Parents are much more aware of childhood obesity nowadays so have a good selection of healthy food and vegetables available.

Suggest to your family customers they order the children’s meal first because children don’t understand the concept of waiting for food!  Many families place their children’s order when they place their drinks order so they know their child will get their food quickly.  It’s also more advisable to do this than have children demolish the bread basket only to be full when their food arrives!

Children’s EntertainmentChildrens_meal_boxes.jpg

It’s a good idea to have something in place to keep young diners entertained.  For example, printing up activity booklets with colouring pictures and things to do inside.  Supply coloured pencils and children will usually busy themselves with this fun entertainment.  Some restaurants have specially designed placemats which act as the activity booklet and other restaurants offer colouring in competitions.

If you are particularly family friendly you might want to have a designated play area with soft equipment so parents can sit and enjoy their meal while the children entertain themselves.  If you have an outdoor area, the summer time is ideal for play activities so families can enjoy everything you have to offer while the children have plenty to keep them occupied too.

Special Offers

Of course, you might want to actively encourage families to visit, in which case you could promote your restaurant with special happy hour prices for families from 5pm to 7pm for example, or you could offer birthday parties with children’s entertainment, perhaps even offer under 5’s eat free.  All of these ideas will bolster your family-friendly image and increase custom.

For all the equipment you need for young diners, click here & visit Alliance Online. You will find plenty of child-friendly catering products in an array of fantastic colours guaranteed to catch their eye and capture their imagination.