How to Entertain Children in a Restaurant: A Guide for Parents and Restaurant owners and managers
Dining out with children can be both a delightful and challenging experience. Younger kids, in particular, tend to have shorter attention spans, which can lead to restlessness if they aren't kept occupied. For parents, trying to manage a bored child while attempting to savor a meal can be a daunting task. On the flip side, restaurateurs stand to benefit from ensuring families have a memorable dining experience, as this can lead to increased patronage and revenue.
One effective strategy is to offer interactive menus. These could serve as coloring books or activity sheets, and by providing crayons or colored pencils, children can be kept busy. These menus could also feature fun food facts, puzzles, or simple games that align with the restaurant's theme. Kid-friendly table settings can also make a difference. Placemats that children can draw on, coupled with child-sized cutlery and dishes, can make them feel special and engaged
Kid-Friendly Table Settings
Incorporate table settings that cater to children. This could include placemats designed for drawing, along with child-sized cutlery and dishes that make the young ones feel special. It's also beneficial to have a variety of toys and games on hand. A collection of toys or classic board games like Connect 4, card games, and magnetic drawing boards can be popular choices. Additionally, digital tablets loaded with educational games and apps can be offered, but it's crucial to sanitize them between uses.
Engaging Toys and Games
Incorporating engaging toys and games into the dining experience can be a game-changer. Restaurants could keep a collection of toys or board games that families can use. Classics like Connect 4 or card games are always popular. Alternatively, offering digital tablets loaded with educational games and apps can be a hit, though it's essential to ensure they're sanitized between uses.
Consider Setting up a dedicated Play corner
If the restaurant's layout permits, setting up a dedicated play corner can be a game-changer. This area, stocked with toys, books, and soft play mats, should ideally be in a spot easily visible from the dining tables, allowing parents to monitor their children while enjoying their meal. In our digital age, it's also wise to cater to tech-savvy families. Encourage parents to bring headphones for their children if they're using tablets or smartphones. Offering free Wi-Fi with a robust signal throughout the premises can also enhance the dining experience.
Another engaging idea is to offer interactive food options. DIY meal kits, where kids can put together their own tacos, pizzas, or sandwiches, can be both fun and educational. And for dessert? A build-your-own sundae station can be a delightful treat. If the restaurant's space permits, creating a dedicated play area can be beneficial. This could be a small corner stocked with toys, books, and soft play mats. Ideally, this area should be within the parents' line of sight, allowing them to dine while keeping an eye on their children.
Special entertainment nights can also be a draw for families. Hosting evenings with magicians, clowns, or puppet shows can be a hit. Themed nights, like a "Disney Dinner," where kids can come in costume, can also be a unique selling point. In today's digital age, it's also wise for restaurants to offer free Wi-Fi and to encourage parents to bring headphones for their kids if they plan to use tablets or smartphones.
Engage with the Kids
Staff interaction can also play a pivotal role in a child's dining experience. Training staff to engage with children, perhaps by asking about their favorite foods or offering stickers, can make a child's visit memorable. Additionally, offering a diverse kids' menu with both healthy and fun options can keep the dining experience exciting. Including pictures of the dishes can make the choices visually appealing.
Feedback and Suggestions
Lastly, feedback is invaluable. Encouraging parents to share their thoughts on improving the family dining experience can provide restaurateurs with insights. A suggestion box specifically for kids might even yield some creative ideas.
In essence, by adopting a child-friendly approach, restaurants can ensure families not only stay longer and consume more but also eagerly anticipate their next visit
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