3 Ways to Make Your Restaurant More Family Friendly

Family Friendly Restaurant Dining

Jan. 19, 2018 | 4

This week, we explore different ways restaurants can become a family destination in our Family-Friendly Dining Series! In Part I, we revealed the aspects of a great kids menu. Now, in Part II, we reveal three ways to build a loyal following of families in the community.

Dining out with children isn’t easy for parents. Adults can walk out the door in a breeze, whereas children need to be reminded to put on pants. For families, getting out the door is only the first step; the beginning of a potentially strained and demanding sequence of events that follows.

Young children must be buckled into car seats. They might cry or be moody; one child too cold and the other car sick. There is that possibility the backseat gets turned into a WWE fighting ring, forcing the driver to pull over because the cadence of shouting children has grown too distracting to continue down the road.

Budgeting and nutrition are also points of consideration for parents: How much will the meal cost them and what will the children eat? And most of all, will the children behave?

It’s no wonder that families frequently opt for meals at home when staying in is simple and satisfying. Except that parents are adults, too, and eventually, they start fantasizing about another person cooking and thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice to eat out as a family?”

Below, we share three ways to make your restaurant the perfect setting for families to come to. They might require some restructuring of your dining set-up, but once established, you will have a restaurant that answers yes to all the questions on a parent’s checklist. 

How to Make a Restaurant Family-Friendly

These are the top three qualities that convince parents to choose one family-friendly restaurant over another:

  1. The restaurant is kid-friendly.
  2. The kid’s menu has options that are healthy.
  3. There are other children there.

Your Restaurant is Kid-Friendly

A family-friendly restaurant needs to be a kid-friendly restaurant. This distinction refers to an environment that is tailored for children and facilitates their activities. Not only would it be fine for the volume decibels to rise without aggravating other guests, but there is also a play area.

Part of dining out is a chance for parents to catch up with friends, mingle with other parents, or enjoy a conversation with their partner. So, it’s a huge draw when a restaurant has a specific area where children can roam—one that is out of their way, but safe and within sight.

Improve the Kid’s Area with Activities or Playground Equipment

According to your budget, space, and resources, enhance the kids’ area with jungle gyms, games, and other activities. Since children can use their imagination and transform a grassy space into an oceanic coral reef, it’s acceptable to have reduced playing options. They also do not need to be expensive purchases, just items (like a large bouncy ball or ropes tied from tree branches) that children can entertain themselves with.

If you don’t have a large open space for kids, section off an area of your restaurant. Decorate the space with colorful paint, add a small table with chairs, and put some mats on the floor. Then, buy coloring books and interactive games. For maximum fun, the activities should be for kids of all ages and allow for more children to join in.

Have Healthy Options on the Kid’s Menu

Kids like to eat healthy, too. Yet it’s more common to find fried food and French fries on kids’ menus.

Parents are conscientious about nutrition at home and prefer to maintain that level of wholesome eating when dining out. Revamping your kids' menu with mom-approved dishes would be a convincing reason to visit your restaurant.

Update your Restaurant POS with the new menu options to inform servers and modify inventory.

It’s Good If Other Children are There

The third and final point that persuades parents to frequent a family-friendly restaurant often is how much their kids enjoy it. More specifically, if there are other kids present. Knowing that other children will be there to play with turns families into loyal customers.

Since parents take care to socialize their children with play-dates and school activities, having other children present is a huge plus for your dining establishment. Additionally, the more children there are, the longer their kids will be occupied, leaving parents to enjoy much-appreciated adult conversations.

How to Market Your Restaurant as Family Friendly

Word-of-mouth is an extremely successful method to attract more families. To boost this, set up your Facebook business page so parents can check-in and tag your restaurant. Encourage the action of checking in by writing reminders in the menu or on table-tent flyers, and create a hashtag that includes the words “family,” “children,” or “kids.” Parents living in the area will see the check-ins on Facebook and learn about your family-friendly restaurant. It’s likely that they will then make their own plans to visit your restaurant with their children.

Another way to attract family customers is to host events tailored for children. For instance, one afternoon you can organize a day with relay races, games, and face-painting stations. With these events, you tell parents “We love children and families are welcome to dine here,” and after hosting a few, your reputation as a family-friendly restaurant will be secured.

For a more straightforward marketing approach, include an introductory page to your menu. Write about the history and philosophy of your restaurant and state how much you enjoy serving families and hope to see many more throughout the years.

These are just three ways of spreading the word about your family-friendly restaurant. Talk with your staff and loyal customers about other approaches that can be taken to attract more parents and their children.

With a bustling child social scene, a healthy menu, and a protected, fun play area for children, you can turn your restaurant into a preferred family-friendly dining option.





Jan. 19, 2018 | BY Emma Alois

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