It was not very long ago that the only place that thought about kids were the big fast food chains, and even then limited by offering a small toy with the purchase of a hamburger. These days if you don’t create an amazing experience for the twelve and under demographic you will lose their vote!!! So let’s look at a few ideas to get them on side in part 3 of this article:
12. Have family nights
These are a great idea for a slow Monday or Tuesday nights. You could show family TV shows or movies or even cartoons. You can have special discounts on adult meals, and provide other forms of entertainment such as clowns, magicians and musicians. It gives reasons for families to go out when they otherwise would not.
13. Produce family deals
You have already seen this at most of the fast food restaurants like, KFC where they offer 10 pieces of chicken, with bread rolls, coleslaw, potato and gravy, and bottles or cans of drink for the one low price. Family packs welcome family business in a different way. The idea is to produce an interesting variety of foods for a family to enjoy for one low price. Maybe you could provide a large appetiser, two adult main courses, two children’s meals and a big serving of fruits or ice cream to share for the one price.
14. Have a games room with tokens
Guess who always finishes eating first in the family? Every time! If your restaurant is right for this it is a great way for the kids to keep busy while the parents enjoy their meal. There is no limit as to what you can include, whether they are video games or mechanical games, they will all appeal to children. If the games take tokens, you can include them with a children’s meal and more can be purchased if necessary. They can be purchased from the server, or added to the bill. You can give away prizes for high scores and even provide large packs of tokens for a big discount. There are many places that sell both new and reconditioned stand-up arcade games, and allsorts of games on the internet.
15. Have a children’s dining area
You could develop a children’s playing area, or even a separate dining area. While parents bring their children to the restaurant, it doesn’t mean that they would not love a little break. (I’d put money on that one). The area must be well supervised. There is a lot that you can do with this idea. They could have their own servers, and even have their own décor. You could provide games, books and toys so that they remain entertained, or keep them busy while they wait for their parents or their food. If the parents think their children are safe then they will relax more and probably even order more off the menu or have an extra wine or dessert. They will feel more relaxed and love you and your staff for it.
16. Have colouring contests, or any contest
These are always an old favourite for the kids. Have one every week or every month. Prizes can be from surrounding businesses or even you own gift certificates. You can apply this to any idea for a contest and they are popular when done in conjunction with a local festival or celebration. It makes everyone happy, and gives them a reason to come back.
17. Have a fish tank
Servers or parents can escort the kids over to the fish tank to view the fish. It stops them getting bored. All kids love gazing into a fish tank. And many adults do too. It’s a winner all round!
18. Have a children’s mascot
If you have a theme for your restaurant, you can co-ordinate with that theme. For example if you are a steak restaurant you could have a cowboy. If you are a seafood restaurant, you could have a whale or a pirate.
19. Have a kid’s entertainer
They could dress up like a famous character, or a clown, or a magician, or even a lion tamer or someone else from the circus. I know of a restaurant that gets costumes for free in return for advertising the costume hire company. They can clown around, perform tricks, juggle and even mime. You are limited only by your imagination. The entertainer can even take them on a tour of the kitchen. Any college that teaches education courses is usually a good source for finding a quality entertainer.
20. Do face painting occasionally
This is always a big hit. It does not have to be often, but it always a big winner. You can have lots of fun with it. We know of a restaurant that gives a prize when Mum or Dad get their face painted too. The kids think that is great fun!
Ian Macdonald as founder and owner of Macdonald's Gourmet Burgers combines his passion and knowledge of food, wine and nutrition with savvy business tactics. He is also the MD of a corporate consulting firm that advises on strategic negotiation, dispute resolution and workplace change. Clients are mainly from top 100 corporations. For lots of free resources from their extensive website go to: http://www.MacdonaldsGourmetBurgers.com
This article was compiled with the guidance of Darrell Berg-Smith, CEO, DBS Worldwide Marketing Co. , Ltd. For lots of great free low cost marketing resources go to: http://www.darrellberg-smith.com