Notorious for their loud and energetic nature, catering to families with small kids can feel intimidating. From crying to running around and fiddling with just about everything, a night out with children can feel like a nightmare for parents, just as much as for restaurateurs. But it doesn’t have to be.

Instead of dreading the chaos at the sight of a family coming through your restaurant’s doors, why not plan ahead and make any family outing a smooth sailing experience? With a bit of foresight and creativity, your restaurant can quickly transform these challenges into opportunities. Follow the guide below to figure out your best strategy to tap into a new demographic and impress the family guests with unmatched service.

Seating space for families

If you are on a quest to turn yourself into a kid-friendly establishment, take a look around the space first. Providing spacious and comfortable seating arrangements is essential, especially for parents with small children. Make sure there’s ample space for strollers and high chairs for your customers to move around with ease. Opt for comfortable seating options, such as booths or cushioned chairs, as they can make a world of difference for families with small children, allowing them to relax and enjoy their day or evening out.

Child-friendly menu options

Child-friendly menu options

It’s not all about fish and chips these days! With more and more parents turning towards healthier, more nutritious options, opting for a variety of kid-friendly meals can win over the hearts of parents. Review which of your staple dishes could be added to the kids menu as smaller portions to provide more variety and options for dietary restrictions without overwhelming your kitchen staff. This also allows you to offer a kid combo meal for parents to pick a few options at once that are more suitable for their child’s dietary requirements and preferences.

Whichever way you go, though, don’t forget to make food fun! From funny shapes to kid-friendly food colouring, the possibilities of interacting with food are endless and can save the day even with the pickiest young eaters!

Staff training

When it comes to dining out with young children, you want your staff to be quick on their feet. Long wait times and untimely service can quickly turn a family evening out into a disaster. Train your staff to prioritise families’ needs by taking their orders as soon as possible, communicating with the kitchen staff on the serving time, and getting the meals out on their table as quickly as possible. Besides that, inform your staff of the available solutions they can choose from in case there’s any expected delay. Whether it’s a complimentary appetiser or a selection of games to occupy kids in the meantime, parents are guaranteed to appreciate the extra care.

Children’s safety first

Besides arranging the space for comfortable seating, it is even more important to make sure that your restaurant’s space is safe for kids. Start by childproofing your establishment’s space to ensure all sharp edges are covered and the cabinets are secured to avoid any unwanted incidents.

Also, remember to take into account cleanliness and hygiene standards. Don’t skip regular sanitisation of high chairs and toys to prevent bacteria from spreading from kid to kid. For an additional layer of assurance, consider having your staff trained in emergency procedures, including choking incidents and medical emergencies.

Making dining out fun for kids

Fun dinning out for kids

Let’s face it: keeping children entertained during a meal can be one hell of a task. Providing entertainment options, including colouring sheets, toys, or games, can be a lifesaver for parents. In case you are planning to make families one of your main customer bases, you can even go the extra step and incorporate a designated kids’ area for children to play at. Equip it with playsets or interactive screens to offer additional distractions not only to keep the little ones happy, but also to allow parents to enjoy their meal in relative peace.

Essential amenities for families

Don’t forget to take into account the essential amenities that can help both parents and kids feel comfortable during their stay at your restaurant. Place a diaper changing station in the restroom to avoid parents having to improvise in an inconvenient space. Purchase a number of high chairs and booster seats that would accommodate your guests, and offer child-sized utensils and cups to show your guests you have paid attention to all the details.

Family-friendly promotions

Becoming parent’s favourite kid-friendly restaurant

Implementing family-friendly promotions at your restaurant can help your establishment quickly become the number one choice for families with small children. By incorporating special promotions and discounts, you can easily draw families in and turn them into repeat or even loyal customers. Create loyalty programs for returning families or opt for options such as ‘Kids Eat for Free’ night to really secure the buzz amongst this demographic.

Book in families with Tableo

At the end of the day, catering to families with small children isn’t just about providing food; it’s about creating an experience that leaves a lasting impression, and with Tableo you can prepare ahead.

By simply reviewing the number of guests with children on the restaurant reservation platform, your staff can:

  • Set up booster and high chairs ahead of time

  • Keep the entertainment options for kids close by for additional convenience

  • Inform kitchen staff about the approximate number of kids’ meals expected on their shift to give them time to think of the options for creative serving

And finally welcome your guests with a big smile and assure that on this family meal out – nothing is left to chance!

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Author Profile
Freelance copywriter at Tableo

Hanna Yerega is a freelance copywriter and a powerhouse on social media, where she combines her knack for compelling writing with a masterful grasp of digital platforms. Known for her exceptional organisation skills, she handles multiple projects with unparalleled precision. Hanna is deeply passionate about not-for-profit initiatives, using her talents to amplify their messages and drive meaningful engagement.