With research* showing that 40% of parents now eat out at least once a fortnight with their children, it’s important not to forget smaller guests when you’re planning your menus.
What to offer
Families are spoilt for choice when it comes to places to eat out, so help your establishment draw in the crowds by considering:
• An all day, every day children’s menu that includes main, dessert and drink for a set price
• Unlimited vegetables or salad
• A menu split into ages, such as under and over 5s, or have smaller and bigger bites as an option
• A dessert option to take away – ice cream in a cone or pancakes
• Have colouring books, puzzles or stickers to help keep the kids occupied
• Provide children’s cutlery as standard
How to stand out
Help your establishment stand out so all the family has a good time and wants to come back – for example:
• Offer a children’s carvery exclusively for six to 10-year-olds where they can choose from a selection of roasted meats (also offer a meat free version) and then help themselves to as many vegetables and potatoes as they like.
• Make the most of current trends such as freakshakes. Start with a vanilla base and build up as high as you dare with brownies, salted caramel and sweets.
• The Arch London, a family friendly hotel, offers a picnic hamper for families that includes chicken wraps and cheese and tomato sandwiches. Perfect for any outdoor events you might be planning or as a kids’ grab and go lunch option.
Pizza is always a popular choice on a children’s menu – and it’s a hit with operators too as it offers versatility in how and what they serve. “Pizza has become a firm favourite as it not only has a high appeal for kids, it also offers parents excellent quality and value for money,” explained Richard Cooper, senior brand manager for Dr. Oetker Professional. Their 13cm wide Deep Dish Pizza range allows children to eat the same dish as adults at a suitable portion size.
It also allows operators to serve Chicago Town straight away. The pizzas don’t require any preparation and are easy to cook – taking the pressure off the kitchen during a busy service. Or you could offer pizzas made from scratch as a point of difference. Add some fun to the meal by presenting the children with a choice of toppings before the pizza goes in the oven so they feel involved in making their own meal.
Keep it healthy
• Serve at least two portions of veg with every child’s meal
• Ensure children’s puddings are an appropriate portion size
• Offer children’s portions of adult dishes
• Offer quality ingredients such as free range and organic on the children’s menu
Source: Out to Lunch by The Soil Association, the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food