How to Attract Families to Your Restaurant and Get Them to Return

By Jason Bench April 9, 2024 Blog, Restaurant
how to attract families to your restaurant

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American household spends over $3,600 per year dining outside of their homes. When you combine that number with the most recent Census estimate that 40% of households include children under 18, it’s easy to see that family dining presents a lucrative revenue opportunity for restaurants. Turning your brand into a preferred choice for families will foster customer loyalty and drive revenue growth. Are you wondering how to attract families to your restaurant and get them to return? We’ve got a wide range of ideas to help make it happen. 

Build a Memorable Family Dining Experience 

When families go out to eat, they’re after more than just a meal. They’re looking for a full-spectrum dining experience that caters to parents and kids alike. The adults want high-quality food served in an appealing environment, along with menu items that kids love and entertainment to keep young diners busy and engaged. 

Redefine Your Kids Menu 

  • Feed Them Well: Venture beyond traditional options by providing more than chicken nuggets and French fries. Design wholesome, creative dishes that appeal to young palates. Leverage current restaurant trends around sustainability and global flavors with fun, nutritious options that encourage kids to explore new flavors. 
  • Make it Fun: Develop a kids’ menu that doubles as “eatertainment,” with activities, puzzles, and games related to the food they’re eating – and don’t forget those free crayons! This approach is enjoyable while also being educational, making mealtime an interactive experience. 

Create an Appealing Environment for All Ages 

  • Optimize Dining Areas: Seating areas should be comfortable and family-friendly. Provide safe highchairs for young diners. Offer something fun and engaging, like a fish tank or coloring sheets, to pass the time in waiting areas. 
  • Keep Things Safe: Whether indoor or outdoor, your designated play zones should be clean, well-maintained, and visible to parents. Incorporate elements that reflect your restaurant’s theme to enhance the dining experience and make your establishment memorable and preferred. 
  • Don’t Forget the Bathrooms: Stock your restrooms with family essentials such as baby changing facilities, child-size toilets, and stools so that kids can reach the sinks for handwashing. Use a digital checklist solution to help staff keep everything clean and well-supplied.    
  • Promote Offers that Appeal to Families: Offer deals such as ‘kids eat free’ nights or special packages to attract families. Holiday promotions and seasonal menu items related to school holidays or events can also draw in family diners. 
  • Throw a Party: Organize family-friendly events or theme nights that cater to children, such as costume parties, movie screenings, or cooking classes. These events can provide families with a reason to choose your restaurant over others. 
  • Be the Family Favorite at Home: Some nights are just too busy for in-house dining, but you can still support family customers with takeout options. Make them special by including more than just food. Family “adventure packs” might include a themed meal, interactive activities related to the cuisine (e.g., DIY pizza kits or sushi rolls), and fun educational materials about the dish’s origin. 
  • Solicit Feedback: Encourage feedback from families to understand their needs better and adapt your offerings. Demonstrate that you value their input by implementing changes based on what you learn. 

Make Your Loyalty Program Family-Friendly 

Do you offer a rewards program at your restaurants? If not, now is the time to start. Most experts believe that 80% of profits come from the top 20% of customers. By reinforcing your relationships with your most devoted diners, loyalty programs encourage repeat business. 

  • Expand the List of Qualifying Activities: Allow customers to earn rewards not just based on visit frequency or spending amount but also on participating in family-friendly activities or events at your restaurant.  
  • Offer Rewards Just for Families: Multigenerational diners enjoy anything from free meals for kids to exclusive access to special events or priority booking for special occasions.  

Leverage Technology for Enhanced Convenience 

Regardless of household structure, today’s parents are busy. They’ve got work to do, carpools to drive, and family obligations to meet. Dining out is a relief, but only if it’s convenient. Smart restaurant managers are taking advantage of the latest technology to delight diners. 

  • Offer Digital Reservations: Implement a system for families to reserve tables or get on the waitlist before leaving home. Make sure it allows them to indicate seating needs and preferences, such as a highchair or a booth.  
  • Put Your Menu Online: Make your menu available digitally so families can plan ahead. Clarify your allergen policies and your ability to accommodate any dietary restrictions. 
  • Be Entertaining: Offer free Wi-Fi and tablets loaded with age-appropriate games and educational content. This tech-savvy approach can help in managing children’s downtime during the meal. 

How to Attract Families to Your Restaurant with a Consistent Brand Experience 

Brand consistency drives customer loyalty, and customer loyalty drives revenue. Make sure that adults and kids know what they can expect every time they visit your restaurant, regardless of which location they choose. 

  • Define and Enforce Brand Standards: Consistency is key to building trust with family diners. Ensure every location upholds the same high standards in food quality, service, and atmosphere. Support site visits with a digital field assessment tool that offers a wide range of integrations, including photo, video, and real-time reporting capabilities. 
  • Train Employees as Brand Standard Ambassadors: Implement comprehensive training programs for staff on how to attract families to your restaurant by engaging with adults and managing children’s needs. Leverage technology to support your training programs with employee coaching. 

How MeazureUp Helps Attract Families to Your Restaurant 

Ensuring a dependable, high-quality experience across all your brand’s locations is key to attracting and retaining family diners. MeazureUp’s digital solutions enable restaurant managers to maintain brand standards effortlessly. When they partner with MeazureUp, restaurants meet and exceed customer expectations by turning every visit into an outstanding, enjoyable dining experience for adults and kids. 

Schedule a demo of MeazureUp and stake your claim in the family dining market today.