Childcare is expensive, so rather than paying a babysitter, many parents are opting to eat at restaurants with their kids. While it doesn’t make sense for every type of restaurant to be kid-friendly, restaurants that aren’t accessible to kids can isolate a huge group of potential customers: parents with kids under the age of 12. In fact, adding a kids’ menu can increase traffic up to 25-percent. Here’s how to create an exciting restaurant kids’ menu that keeps both the kids and the parents happy.
Kids can be picky, and while they may love cheeseburgers, they may not be as keen on its traditional side dish: French fries. Rather than pairing items together, have a list of entrees and a list of sides for the kid to choose from. Not only does this give them a sense of empowerment, but unlike adults, they may not be bothered by the culinary mismatch of spaghetti and meatballs with a side of potato chips. Just remember, parents are often looking for healthy kids’ menu options and kids won’t always want to pick them, so it might make sense to also automatically serve apple slices or carrot sticks with every kids’ meal.
Menu design is key, because creating a kid-friendly restaurant means keeping the kids occupied before, during, and after the meal. When kids are busy, they’re less likely to be crying, fighting, screaming or otherwise bothering their parents or other guests at your restaurant. That’s why so many restaurants have kids’ menus with activities on the back, so your young diners can color, complete word searches, and even draw their own comic. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box by creating a basket full of children’s books and games for kids to play with while they’re waiting for their food.
Healthy kids’ menu ideas can be hard to come by, especially when you’re dealing with kids who are picky eaters. But one way to encourage kids to eat all their food—including the fruits and vegetables—is getting creative with the plating. Pancakes with blueberries for eyes and a strawberry smile, for example, can encourage kids to eat fruits with their sugary breakfast. Need more kids’ menu inspiration? Try arranging fruits and vegetables into a flower on the plate. This has the added benefit of enticing parents to take Instagram photos and post them to their feed, which can give you some free publicity.
Need help building your restaurant kids’ menu? McDonald Wholesale can help. In addition to providing high-quality wholesale food options, we also offer menu design services. In the meantime, check out the McDonald Wholesale Blog where we cover everything from restaurant dessert trends to proven menu engineering tips to boost restaurant profits.