The Family Restaurant Business Plan: How To Attract Families To Your Restaurant

Statistically, most people have children, yet we often fail to offer dining environments that cater to families, literally throwing away vast quantities of great business. Why is it that we make adult restaurants that are completely unsuitable for children and child-based restaurants that don’t cater to parents? If you’ve experienced or are currently experiencing parenthood, you will probably know both sides of this eating out problem and it’s hard to decide which is worse… trying to keep children quiet in an environment where they have nothing to entertain them… or going to one of those family fun play areas where your food consists of a frozen burger and french fries served on a plastic table. Why don’t restaurants offer something for all? In terms of family friendly restaurants, the UK is very behind countries such as the US, and we wanted to talk more about the family restaurant business plan to help you discover how to attract families to your restaurant.

Treat Children As Customers

If a child is at your restaurant, they are the most valued possession of a paying customer and they should be treated as well as other customers. Pay attention to children and make sure you have staff who like children. If a server is clearly annoyed at a child for doing things that children do, you can guarantee that the parents will not be coming back to your restaurant (and may well leave a negative review online).

Engage Children

When considering how to make a family friendly restaurant, you need to consider how to engage children. If you can keep children engaged and happy through a restaurant dining experience so the parents don’t have to deal with them constantly, you will have happy parents. Happy parents and happy children is the key to the family restaurant business plan and makes the difference between being a successful family restaurant or not. At the table, offering small games or colouring books to children makes a world of difference and if you also offer a children’s play area, you may just be able to engage children even longer than adults! Remember that children come in all shapes and sizes, so you need to cater to all ages if you want to be a truly family friendly restaurant which is why having a range of games, offering activity books, and providing a play area suitable for children of varying ages are all vitally important.

Create A Functional, Memorable Play Area

A play area, indoor or outdoor, is a key element of any decent family restaurant. And it’s important that it’s an exciting and engaging play area, not just an afterthought. You know when you get a free breakfast at a hotel that turns out to be white bread and jam? Well, it’s kind of like that – if you’re going to do something, do it properly, otherwise it’s going to annoy people.

We specialise in making engaging, creative restaurant play areas that will be remembered by children and adults alike. These play areas have resulted in the venues becoming firm family favourites and experiencing increases in revenue. The secret to these play areas is that they are big enough to cater for the volume of children the restaurant can hold, they are memorable enough for children and adults to want to return, they cater to different aged children, and they do not interrupt the dining experience for others. This creates an environment that engages children throughout the non-eating parts of a dining experience whilst allowing adults to relax, enjoying food, drink, and conversation; a situation where everybody wins.

Find out more about our restaurant play areas here. Below are a few examples of our restaurant play areas.

the mulberry pirate ship
duke of cambridge pub
westmorland gloucester services
smugglers bar and grill

Remember The Adults

Whilst it is great to attract families to your restaurant, driving further business, it is important to remember not to alienate or push away adults who do not have children. Ensure that the play area does not disturb the adult dining experience and offer a menu and level of sophistication that caters to adults. You can make a separate menu focused at children or have a child section on the regular menu, but if everything is child centric it will alienate adults and may make a venue seem tacky.

Also remember that adults with children will not always have children and will sometimes go out without their offspring. If you can make an environment that appeals to adults, they may return in the evening without the kids or continue to visit years after their children have grown up. Attracting families to your restaurant and making a success of it is about the long term game, and if you make parents happy, they are very likely to spread the positive word and bring other parents to your restaurant.

Provide Decent Food For Adults & Children

Not every child wants to eat chicken nuggets or pizza, and most certainly most parents don’t want their children to eat nothing but french fries, so try to offer a menu that will appease children AND parents. In an increasingly health centric world, why not try offering smaller or blander versions of adult meals for children? This way children feel more grown up and they get more nutritious food which is good for their long term development as well as appeasing parents so that they are more likely to return.

Offer Child Seating

Younger children may require high chairs or specialised seating. If you don’t have this available, you immediately cut out a certain demographic of potential patrons. Ensure you have enough child seating available to cope with the level of demand in your restaurant.

Successfully Attracting Families To Your Restaurant

Successfully attracting families to your restaurant is not rocket science – it’s about having a well though out family restaurant business plan and paying attention to all the little details mentioned on this page. Whilst you are very capable of handling the menus and your staff, we are here to help with all your restaurant play area needs, and specialise in the creation on bespoke play areas. Please get in touch with us if you are considering commissioning a restaurant play area and we will be happy to talk you through some ideas. We look forward to hearing from you.

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For further inspiration, please take a look at our existing restaurant play areas, outdoor play areas, and indoor play areas. If you can dream it, we can build it!

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