Posts Tagged ‘family dining’

Catering to the Teen and Tween Markets

March 8, 2012

It’s taken some restaurateurs a little while to accommodate the idea of “tweens” – those 9-to-12 year olds who are making up an increasingly important market segment. And new info by Technomic and C3 shows that it can’t hurt to have menu items that appeal to guests in this age group.

 

The information was taken from a survey that included more than 1,500 customers to compile a rough picture of teen and “tween” dining habits.

 

What the Tweens told Technomic

 

This “older younger guest” set told Technomic that they specifically wanted separate menus for themselves. Of course they don’t want the “kiddie” menus. But adult menus can seem scary or – worse – downright boring.

 

What should you put on your tween menus? The answers will depend on both the food and the demographic(s) you serve. Menu items should be mostly simple – yet customizable enough to let your tween customers feel in control of their dining experience. And above all, they shouldn’t be boring!

 

But What About Teen Restaurant Guests?

 

Teens are a little more adventurous than their younger tween counterparts. They told the surveyors that they are looking for exciting new concepts.

 

This doesn’t have to be just about the food they eat. It can include rule-breaking novelties (such as the “throw your peanut shells on the floor” style of some chain steakhouses) or high-tech gadgetry. Buffalo Wild Wings is testing out iPads in one of its locations in Toronto, and you can bet this would be an easy hit with most teens.

 

You don’t have to drop thousands of dollars on Apple products to entice technology-literate teens, however. A whole host of electronic devices are being introduced that allow guests to order and even pay without ever leaving their table, or having to wait for your wait staff to input their orders.

 

Teen and Tween Voting Power

 

58% of teens and 54% of tweens told Technomic that their families worked together to decide on where the family should eat out. So it definitely pays to make sure you keep your teen and tween guests in mind the next time you revamp your menus.

Something for the Kids

July 14, 2011

When thinking about a dining experience, it is often tempting to think only about the adults . . . after all, they are the ones opening their wallets.  However, doing something special for the kids can cause parents to return to a restaurant again and again.

 

There is a significant amount of parents coming to eat at restaurants with their children, and those parents are looking at how their children are treated.  So, it would be wise for a restaurant to spend some time looking at how to best serve the children.

 

A kid’s menu is a staple for many restaurants.  But some parents are starting to take notice of what their children are eating, and the old, unhealthy standbys may not cut it anymore.  To gain the parents’ trust, a restaurant may want to look into healthier choices for children.

 

That doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds.  At some restaurants, the solution is offering a smaller version of the adult plate.  It seems that some children like to be a little adventurous and try the things the adults are having.

 

Another option is to revamp the old standbys on the kid’s menu.  Use fresh, quality ingredients to make the staples.  It may also be helpful to provide an atmosphere where kids are welcome.

 

If it takes a little more consideration or quickly providing children with food or something to do, so be it.  Parents are impressed when time is taken to make both their and their kids’ dining experience a pleasant one.

 

It might be a daunting experience offering a place for children to be comfortable.  Certainly more casual dining restaurants may have an advantage in this.  But even upscale restaurants can take steps to make a child’s experience a good one.

 

Not only will it impress the parents and offer them a reason to come back, but a good dining experience may also affect the children positively.  Who knows?  Maybe one day they’ll come back with their children.