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Newsletter #1050: The “Kids in Restaurants” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

There’s been plenty of negative stories in the news lately about clashes between frustrated parents, frustrated customers, and frustrated restaurant owners when it comes to kids and going out to eat. But let’s focus on the places that are doing it right.

Here are three great ideas from restaurants that welcome kids:

1. Give them something to take home
2. Don’t forget the bigger kids
3. Make a time especially for them
4. Check it out: RGB

1. Give them something to take home

Monk’s Bar and Grill serves kids’ meals on frisbees with a liner on the inside and their logo on the outside. It serves as a plate at the restaurant, then as a word of mouth tool when the family goes home. It’s that simple.

The lesson: This sounds like a story that starts with, “Well, we ran out of kids’ plates, but we had all these frisbees…” Sometimes it can be that easy. Are you trying all kinds of things to get word of mouth tools in your customers’ hands?

2. Don’t forget the bigger kids

Applebee’s menu has a “Really hungry” section for kids and a “Really really hungry” section for bigger kids with bigger appetites. (Notice they know children well enough not to call it the “big kid” and “little kid” menu.) And while children might not notice little details like these, their parents do. Now, they don’t have to order an adult-sized entree they know their child either won’t finish or won’t really like, and they don’t have to have the “but I’m really hungry” argument either.

The lesson: What small details can you change to really think like your customers — even the small customers?

3. Make a time especially for them

A lot of parents stress about bringing their kids and babies to restaurants because they’re afraid of bothering other patrons if their kids get loud or if their babies cry. But to ease that stress and cater to both families and customers without kids, the Perch Cafe in Brooklyn held kid-friendly events during their slow hours. That gets families in the door when the restaurant’s slower and keeps parents from having to navigate their busy hours with kids.

The lesson: Get creative to fill your off-hours. Think of the people who would appreciate a smaller crowd and make something just for them.

4. Check it out: RGB

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