Whether they are traveling across the country or sticking close to home with a staycation, plenty of families will be dining out this summer. Make your restaurant stand out and attract larger groups with these helpful tips.

Kid-Friendly Menu Items

Many restaurants wince at the words “kids menu” because it usually means macaroni and cheese with a side of fries or something similar. Families today are more interested in finding regular menu items that also cater to their kids' expanding palettes. Think hummus with veggies, sweet potatoes, fruit parfaits, and smaller portions of pasta dishes. Or consider an all-in-one meal deal that includes their meal, drink, and a small dessert.

Summer Promotions

Families love a good promotion, especially one that saves them a few dollars when dining out. Choose marketing strategies that they’ll appreciate, but also ones that won’t hurt your bottom line. Offer a free kids beverage with food purchase, provide complimentary crayons and coloring sheets, select a historically slow night of the week to bring in a balloon artist or entertainer. Test out different promo approaches that fit with your restaurant’s aesthetic and see what works best.

Encourage Friendly Faces

A busy night plus a table with six kids is enough to make even the most seasoned server a bit grumpy. Train your staff to remain patient and show respect to patrons of every age. Educate them about the ideal locations to seat large groups, as well as how to best interact with parties. Families who feel like valued guests and not a burden are not only more inclined to return, but also to tip better.

Harness Social Media

Families will often check out a restaurant’s social media before choosing where to eat, so be sure to utilize your Facebook and Instagram pages. Make sure your hours and website are up-to-date, highlight seasonal menu items, mention any special events, and feature photos of kids happily eating on your patio. Social media is also a great place to offer any last-minute discount codes or promotions.

Don’t Forget the Details

Families these days tend to bring a lot along with them, from strollers to tablets. But restaurants are still responsible for providing many necessary extras, including high chairs, booster seats, and changing tables in restrooms. And don’t overlook small details that can make a big difference to parents, like cups with straws and lids, disposable bibs, mobile ordering, or tableside bill pay.

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