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Children as customers

Children often influence the buying behaviour of their parents. This leads to the fact that the opinion of the offspring is also taken into account when choosing a restaurant. But how often do we actually address children in gastronomy and perceive them as full-fledged customers? We will show you where you can meet the needs of the little ones in the restaurant or on the food truck and thus satisfy the whole family.

Indirect purchasing power - how the consumer behaviour of the little ones influences purchasing decisions

Even if children themselves do not have any significant purchasing power, they often have their own opinion about how the food budget should be spent. A total of 62 % of children between 6 and 13 years of age have a say in deciding on food - for pre-school children the figure is 45 %. So when it comes to choosing a restaurant, there is a good chance that parents will be guided by the children's wishes. Little extras that create a unique selling point and keep the kids happy are highly appreciated and are positively remembered by children and parents alike. Only a few extra resources need to be created for a family-friendly environment. You can already achieve a lot with small, simple investments.

"Mom I'm bored" - score points for service and employment

You don't have to be a parent to know how impatient children can be - especially when they are hungry! However, the following lasting examples show that it doesn't necessarily have to be the plastic figure in the children's menu to entertain your little guests:

  • Offer activities to keep kids busy during meals, such as table mats (ideally made of recycled paper) or paper cups that can be painted with wax crayons. A paintable table mat can also be used by food trucks with beer tent sets - a classic tip, but one that always works.
  • Air-drying modelling clay is also ideal for keeping children quiet and clean at the table. The best thing is: they can take their modelled work of art home with them!
  • For slightly older children, puzzles with learning content are ideal. If corporate identity is important to you, you can have a specially designed puzzle sheet created. Otherwise, the puzzle sheet from the bookstore will do.
  • Set up a play corner in your restaurant. It is important to have hygienic and washable toys that are interesting for children of all ages. Wooden toys ,for example, are not only sustainable, but also robust and durable (But be careful not to use small parts that can be swallowed).
  • A photo box is a highlight of every wedding or hip bar. But why leave the fun to the adults only, when families can also take a photo together? You only need a small corner in which a self-timer camera is placed (nowadays easily affordable). With a background showing a company logo, everyone will remember the nice visit to your restaurant.
  • Sometimes the meal is not only about the food itself, but about a successful evening with the family. Maybe a quiz night is just the right thing for your customers. Families can compete against each other and grow closer together as a team. So how about offering such an event once a month at your place?

"Daddy I don't like it" - which cuisine is popular with the younger generation?

Not all tastes are the same. Especially the younger guests can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to make the children's menu even tastier:

  • If you had to wait a long time for your food, you would also lose your hunger, wouldn't you? Why not offer your young guests a small tasting portion so that not only the parents can enjoy their appetizer in peace, but also the children are busy. At best, this way they can also try new foods that they would not otherwise eat at home. This can also be done well on food trucks. Parents will love it!
  • The classic children's plate with catchy names and extra decorative elements is not new, but often lags behind with the naming. Where parents would still be familiar with a Scooby Doo plate, children look at the picture with irritation. Stay on top of things and use figures from current children's series. You can also score points with neutral terms such as princess menu or pirates plate.
  • Not only the name is relevant, the eye also eats along. Create an appealing menu that stimulates the children's imagination. The fish fingers of the pirate's plate can be served, for example, in wooden food boats in a stylish way.
  • Orange juice is yuck? With a colourful paper drinking straw the juice is sure to taste great!
  • Not only children are picky, parents also want the best. Make sure that your children's menu offers a healthy mix, including fresh fruit and vegetables. You can also make your menu available online so that parents can check the ingredients for allergens in advance.
  • The shape of the dishes can also be child-friendly. Eating up with cute shapes, such as a bear plate, will be a lot of fun.
  • The dessert should be the highlight of your young guests and will be the more exciting the more they can create and work by themselves. How about different toppings for the ice cream (Build your own Ice) or a mini chocolate fondue for the whole family?

"Grandma I can't reach" - little helpers with a big impact

Not only the children should feel comfortable and happy. Parents, too, want to be provided with facilities that make life easier for them. Here are a few points that you can pay attention to as a restaurateur:

  • Provide comfortable and clean high chairs for infants
  • Ask the parents if they have special wishes, e.g. a bigger table. The more space the guest has, the more freedom he will experience.
  • Changing tables for small children in the restrooms (both available for men and women)
  • Place a small stool under the sink so that the child can stand on it and wash his hands easily
  • In emergencies, parents will be happy for a spare diaper
  • School your staff to respond to children as well. Service staff who completely ignore children can quickly contribute to an unpleasant atmosphere.

"Darling, it's too expensive"- smart promotions for you and your guests

Having children is not cheap. Going out for a meal therefore isn't always at the top of the priority list. But how about filling your less frequented business hours with special offers?

  • Organize morning events where parents and their children are especially welcome. In this way, not only mothers and fathers have a contact point to other parents, but you also generate more sales on a regular basis.
  • You can offer catering for children's birthdays during the week at lower prices
  • Offer a "Happy Hour for Kids" outside of rush hours, where children can eat at reduced prices
  • Creative ideas include having the price of the children's menu determined by throwing a dice or having dressed-up children eat at half price at Carnival or Halloween.

Conclusion

Let's face it: not all restaurants, festivals or cafés are child-friendly - and that's fine! However, if you want to appeal to a wide range of guests, you should also make as many groups of people as possible happy with your offers.

Remember: If the children are not happy with your restaurant, neither are their parents. The key is to find a balance in order to fulfill the offer for the adult and young guests.