The dating game involves a large number of restaurant visits, but once a relationship progresses and children arrive, parents are often left with very few restaurant options, with “child friendly” or “family restaurant” usually being part of restaurant chains and not typically being associated with to0 much class.
Is it possible to have a child friendly but still classy restaurant? We think so!
Here are some possible ideas from a Guestwho mystery guest for upping the family-friendly factor of your restaurant without detracting from its elegance and class too much –
- prepare a separate kiddies menu, with simple, mild foods and tasty desserts;
- arrange a children’s area, preferably in a closed room, with large windows (so parents can still see their children without necessarily having to hear their screams of delight!);
- employ students as entertainers for the children – this goes beyond babysitting services, let them interact with the children, play games and activities with the kids;
- depending on the size of the venue available, have different activity stations for kids –
- arts and crafts;
- play doh and cookie cutters;
- perhaps even a mini photo booth option where kids can dress up with various accessories and email the digital photos to their parents – a great way to build up your mailing list, subject to applicable data laws of course!;
- arrange activities around themed events (let the kids make pretty cards for mothers’ day, decorate eggs at Easter time);
- for those children who prefer to stay with their parents, have traditional coloring in and quiet-time paper activities for these kids, but with all the fun available in your kids’ activity zone, it is unlikely many children will prefer to stay at the table;
- children should be escorted to and from the kids’ activity zone to ensure they are not left running in and out of your restaurant;
- include identi-tags or arm bands for children with corresponding codes for their parents, so parents need not be concerned that someone else might take their child from the kids’ activity zone.
Although many of the above suggestions will include an additional expense for you to implement and maintain them, if parents are able to enjoy a delicious romantic meal, whilst their children are happy and entertained, your business should certainly reap the rewards in the longer term.