It used to be that if a restaurant was “family-friendly” it simply meant they could provide crayons for the kids. But with more families concerned about health, the definition of a “family-friendly” restaurant is changing. More and more, “family-friendly” also includes things like healthy food options, affordability for families, and take-out options.
Some restaurants are going further, offering one-of-a-kind experiences catered to children and families. There are nearly 28 million small businesses in the United States. From national chains to local gems, learn more about some of the most desirable characteristics of family-friendly restaurants.
Price is a huge factor for families trying to get a meal out. With almost 87% of families being in debt, going out to eat can sound like an extravagant expense.
Restaurants can try to make dining out affordable for families by offering children’s options on their menus. A kid’s menu should not only have food that is more appropriate for children. It should also have food priced for children.
A kid’s menu should have options that are about half the price of regular menu items. This can help make a family-friendly restaurant accessible to families of all income levels.
2. Unique Characteristics that Children Like
Coloring pages are great, but there is so much more that a family-friendly restaurant can offer to entice families.
Some restaurants are adopting indoor play areas for children. This can give parents a much-needed break while sitting down for a meal. A safe area with some toys for children can allow kids to run free in a safe, enclosed area of the restaurant.
There are also more creative ways to adapt a restaurant to families. In 2015, a Taco Bell restaurant used a 1,080 square foot shipping container as a location for a pop-up store. Other restaurants have used things like old train cars for locations. These creative approaches can appeal to children and help families feel welcome.
3. Health Food Options
Parents are, rightly, very concerned about the health of their children. Even the adoption of food labels made families think twice, resulting in a cutback in unhealthy food options by 13%.
Restaurants throughout the country are offering more information about specific nutritional facts. Menus with detailed health and nutrition information are making it easier for families to make informed choices while dining out.
Health isn’t just a buzzword for families. Parents want to ensure their children grow up healthy. That requires information that helps families make informed choices when a restaurant’s menu provides nutritional information.
4. Take-Out Options
For some families, sitting still inside a restaurant simply isn’t an option. When children are very young they may have trouble being still for that long. There are also many other reasons why parents with kids won’t want to try dining in a restaurant right now.
Some restaurants are innovating in order to offer options for these kinds of families. Restaurants that can offer a take-out option can give families a chance for a special meal that still fits their lifestyle and needs.
This has led to other innovations such as cloud-based restaurants that can cater to their guests remotely. These restaurants also help cut costs for the restaurant itself. Restaurants that have gone completely cloud-based don’t need front of house staff and can save money on building space and real estate costs. Instead, their money goes more frequently towards things like marketing and online presence.
These cloud-based restaurants can focus entirely on their kitchens. This brings the additional benefit of making food the entire focus of the restaurant.
Other restaurants are going only partially take-out based. This allows families to put in an order and pick it up. This is great for families who want a special meal but also want to avoid the pitfalls associated with fast food. A take-out meal from a better quality restaurant is often healthier, which is a huge draw for parents.
Appealing to Families
Restaurants who choose to appeal to families may have to make some adjustments in how they do business. From the seating arrangements to the menu options to the possibility of offering take-out, catering to families offers some specific challenges.
However, the rewards are also great. Consider these tips when you want to bring your children to a truly family-friendly restaurant.