A report by Oxford Brookes University and the University of Queensland into guardians visiting restaurants, pubs, and cafes with children, has found that even the smallest gestures from staff can lead to repeat visits and recommendations.
Paying attention to little ones doesn’t just improve their experience, but also the experience of the people paying the bill. How should venues best cater to families? Here are five helpful tips that any operator could benefit from:
Consider a family’s needs before they get inside.
Access and space are key priorities for customers with children in tow. A lack of parking, difficult access from the car to the venue, and doorways not fit for a family of five can all discourage people from visiting a venue, especially if any members of the party are travelling by buggy.
Engaging with younger guests shows parents that their children are not just an afterthought. Simple touches, such as asking a child their age, can signal to parents that a venue welcomes children.
Give children a say.
Treating children as people just like their parents makes them feel valued, and gives parents a break from doing all the talking. Engage little ones in conversation about the menu, and lead them to make their own choices.
If children are happy, parents are happy.
Talk to children, keep them entertained, and prioritise them over their parents when taking orders. By keeping children content, there is less chance of them disturbing others, allowing their parents to relax.
Create a family-friendly environment.
A family-friendly venue should make its family-friendliness evident to all guests. Emphasising this ethos to everyone will ensure that they know what to expect of a venue, minimising the risks of raised eyebrows at breastfeeding mothers and audible tutting at children’s noise.