What You Need to Know When Catering for Families
Coq au vin is not suited to little tummies and busy fingers. While there are plenty of restaurants, hotels and resorts that have put their proverbial foot down when it comes to accepting children under the age of 12, the most popular are those who accept them with open arms.
Catering for families with young children can be overwhelming, especially when your gourmet breakfasts have been replaced by boiled eggs, mini chicken nuggets and chips. However, to ensure the success and longevity of your business, you will need to make the change, and do so with gusto. The food service industry is increasingly competitive - with an ever-growing market, it is important to ensure that your menus and venue are suited to busy little bodies that prefer tomato sauce to that of a tomato jus. Here is what you need to know when catering for families:
Children Eat what is Familiar
The golden rule for catering for families is that children eat what is familiar. The chances are that they will eat the same meal every time they visit your restaurant. Whether it is fish fingers and potato wedges, Halloumi sticks and sauce or chicken strips and chips, little ones will always eat what they are familiar with. To ensure that your customers are satisfied, be sure to add a few child-friendly items to the menu that are not too complex - pizza squares, hotdogs, chicken pieces and a basket of chips.
Grownups Still Want to Eat 'Grownup' Food
A medium-rare fillet, topped with Brie cheese, cranberry compote and served on a bed of truffle mash might not be a favourite dish for your younger audience, but Mom and Dad will still appreciate the textures and flavours of the meal. It is important to remember that grownups will still want to enjoy gourmet dishes and won't necessarily want to tuck into a toasted sandwich with the children. It is also important to ensure that you cater for adults and meet their culinary desires.
Be Aware of Hazardous Venue Features
Sharp corners, hazardous features and a fireplace are all of the items you need to take into consideration when opening up your doors to families with small children. Parents, often grateful for the fact that you've allowed them into your establishment with their rowdy bunch; will never expect you to change your entire venue to ease their anxiety. Rather, it is in your best interests to cover up any corners or edges that might pose a threat to wandering little fingers.
Learn to Compromise
Chicken strips with Halloumi sticks instead of chips? As frustrating as the dietary habits of children can be, it is important to learn how to compromise when it comes to meeting the requirements of your patrons. Whether your menu has been totally mixed up and changed to suit the needs of a single family with a toddler, or by an anxious mother who is overly aware of her child's allergies, your return business will depend on whether or not you were able to accommodate the various requests of your guests.
Whether supplying catering supplies to various parties or trying to redesign your menus, it is always important to consider families with small children. As the industry continues to grow, your business will be more successful for it!