Some of the crucial ingredients for running a successful restaurant are pleasant ambiance, great food, and killer customer service. The impression you leave on your customers is what has them coming back to you. For this reason, knowing your target customer is of the essence. To get to a wider target market for restaurant, you should look into some broad groups of customers, with very specific demands. A great example of one such group are parents, that is families with children.
What a parent is looking for is a pleasant meal out. This can mean both spending quality time with their children, as well as, having a non-interrupted-conversation with their friends and family members, while children are having a blast doing kids stuff.
Let them know you were expecting them
From the very moment they step into your restaurant, people who have specific requirements will know whether your establishment suits them. A family, regardless of the age the children are, usually takes up more space. This could be due to the number of people, the equipment they carry, or the fact some of them cannot sit still.
Let them know you are aware of this by adding tables that could easily accommodate more people. Don’t forget to include highchairs and boosters. Place families in an area that offers enough space to circulate. They will feel less cramped if there is a designated area where they can leave strollers, trikes, and whatever else they used to come and visit you.
Think ahead, Include special amenities and gear
The same way you have provided enough space and high chairs, you should provide amenities which can make any family’s visit to your restaurant as comfortable as it can be.
Add diaper changing tables to your restrooms. As an additional perk, you could even adapt the restrooms so they are kid-friendly. Alternatively, at least try to provide the right equipment, toilet seat covers as a must, and pay extra attention to hygiene.
Speaking of the right equipment, don’t forget to provide the right dining sets, glasses, and bibs to make the kids feel comfortable.
A kid-friendly menu
A menu designed for children should include healthy ingredients (as much as the style of your cooking and your offer allow it), meals which are easy to eat, as well as meals most children like since they can be very picky. It sounds difficult but it shouldn’t be. All you need is a couple of simple dishes with simple names that indicate what the dish contains. As an alternative, come up with entertaining names for the dishes on this menu. If you do this, don’t forget to label the meals correctly and make sure the parents can see what the dish is exactly.
Make these portions smaller and adjust the price accordingly.
While on the subject of pricing, keep in mind that this meal often comes out of a single household’s budget. Make these families an offer they cannot refuse.
You can do this by combining certain dishes to cover for the entire family at a single price or offer family-size portions, depending on the type of food you prepare at your restaurant.
Keep the children occupied
Depending on the age of a child, it is not very likely that they will find most conversations engaging enough to sit still throughout the dinner. Also, there is a period they will spend waiting for the food to be prepared. This can be frustrating for both the children and their parents, which is why it becomes your problem. There is a simple solution – provide entertainment.
Consider your budget, space, theme, etc. and add a number of entertainment options to your establishment. You can have a playground outside or a playroom indoors with designated staff members watching over children and keeping them happy. Alternatively, you can go as simple as providing some table-top activities such as coloring pages or mats. Add a bookshelf and make sure it includes something for everyone.
Leave an impression
With everything you have invested in creating a more family-friendly environment, it would be a shame if you let it all go to waste with bad customer service. Make sure your every shift includes servers who are trained and particularly good with children.
Have the children walk out with a little memorabilia with your logo on it such as a balloon, magnets, or a cardboard frame they can use for the pages they’ve colored. If the theme of your restaurant allows it, you can even designate an area on one of the walls to display the children’s artwork. It will make them feel special.
Analyze the needs of your customers. Parents want a change of ambiance (compared to their home), perhaps some rest, and family time they can enjoy with their children. Kids want to have fun, eat, and feel appreciated. While analyzing, remember what families really are, young or old, they will look for family values in your restaurant, and a clean reputable place to eat at. Try to live up to that image and leave them with lasting memories of their favorite family restaurant.