WebstaurantStore / Food Service Resources / Restaurant Management / Kid-Friendly Restaurant Ideas
Kid-Friendly Restaurant Ideas

Kid-Friendly Restaurant Ideas

Last updated on 8/31/2023

Creating a kid-friendly restaurant is a smart business move that can attract families and increase your customer base. By providing a space that is welcoming to children, you can create an pleasant meal time for the entire family with this restaurant concept. From designing a playful ambiance to offering a menu tailored to children's tastes, we explore an array of ideas and strategies that can help transform your restaurant into one that caters to the needs and preferences of young diners and keeps families coming back for more.

Kids Menu Ideas

One of the key factors to consider with a kid-friendly restaurant is your menu. A well-curated kids menu can not only attract families but also ensure that children have a delightful time. Try these creative and delicious kids menu ideas that can help you cater to your younger guests:

1. Classic Favorites

chicken tenders and fries

Stick with tried-and-true kids menu options to feed hungry guests:

  • Chicken Tenders: Crispy breaded chicken strips served with a side of fries or vegetables.
  • Mac and Cheese: Creamy and cheesy macaroni that is easy to whip up and serve in small portion sizes.
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich: A classic combination of melted cheese between two slices of grilled bread.
  • Cheese Pizza: A popular option that can be customized with various toppings.

2. Healthy Choices

Add some healthier alternatives to your kids menu:

  • Mini Turkey Sliders: Miniature turkey burgers served with whole wheat buns and a side of fresh fruit.
  • Veggie Quesadilla: A colorful mix of sauteed vegetables, cheese, and tortilla, perfect for little hands.
  • Fresh Fruit Skewers: Use child-safe skewers to add bite-sized fruits like strawberries, melons, and grapes, served with a yogurt dip.
  • Mini Vegetable Pasta: A small portion of pasta tossed with a medley of seasonal vegetables.

3. Interactive Options

With kids being notoriously picky eaters, interactive options allow them to customize their meal:

  • Build-Your-Own Tacos: Kids can choose their own fillings, such as ground beef, shredded cheese, lettuce, and salsa, and assemble their tacos.
  • DIY Pizza: Offer a mini pizza crust with a variety of toppings like tomato sauce, cheese, and vegetables, allowing kids to create their own masterpiece.
  • Pancake Bar: Serve mini pancakes with an assortment of toppings like chocolate chips, berries, whipped cream, and maple syrup, encouraging kids to customize their pancakes.

4. International Flavors

three hard shell tacos

Match the cuisine of your main menu with these international flavors:

  • Chicken Teriyaki Skewers: Bite-sized pieces of chicken marinated in a sweet and savory teriyaki sauce, served with steamed rice.
  • Mini Chicken Tacos: Mini tortillas filled with seasoned chicken, salsa, and a sprinkle of cheese, offering a taste of Mexican cuisine.
  • Mini Sushi Rolls: Small sushi rolls with kid-friendly fillings like cucumber, avocado, and cooked shrimp, served with soy sauce.
  • Chicken Fried Rice: A kid-friendly twist on a classic Asian dish, featuring diced chicken, vegetables, and rice stir-fried in a savory sauce.

Important Factors for Kids Menus

Keep the following in mind when crafting your kids menu:

  • Readily Available Nutritional Information: Providing nutritional information for your kids menu items can help parents make healthier and informed choices for their children according to their dietary needs. Consider including calorie counts, fat content, and other relevant nutritional information for each dish on your kids menu. This transparency not only demonstrates your commitment to your young diners' well-being but also builds trust with parents who value nutritional awareness.
  • Potential Allergens: Food allergies are a growing concern among parents, with approximately 8% of children in the United States having a food allergy. To ensure a safe dining experience for all children, it is essential to offer allergy accommodations on your kids menu. Clearly indicate which dishes contain common allergens such as nuts, dairy, gluten, or shellfish. Additionally, consider offering alternative options or modifications to accommodate specific dietary restrictions.
  • Portion Size: Offering appropriately sized portions on your kids menu ensures that children can enjoy their meal without feeling overwhelmed. Consider offering smaller portion sizes or half-portion options for popular dishes from your regular menu. This allows children to enjoy a variety of flavors while preventing food waste.

Supplies For Kid-Friendly Restaurants

Not only do you need to create a menu filled with family-friendly options, but you should equip your restaurant with the supplies and spaces needed to create a comfortable atmosphere for all.

Kids Meal Supplies

child coloring on menu

One way to keep kids entertained and engaged during their meal is to provide them with fun and interactive meal supplies. Below are some essential kids meal supplies that can enhance the dining experience for your youngest patrons:

  • Coloring Placemats: Coloring placemats are a great way to keep kids entertained while waiting for their food. These placemats often feature engaging designs and activities that children can color in using crayons, providing them with a creative outlet and keeping them occupied.
  • Crayons: Providing children with a set of crayons allows them to unleash their creativity on the coloring placemats or butcher paper while waiting for their food. It's a simple addition that can make a big difference in keeping kids entertained.
  • Kids Cups with Fun Straws: Kids cups with fun straws are not only visually appealing but also practical. These cups are typically smaller in size, making them easier for children to hold and drink from. The addition of colorful and playful straws adds an element of fun to their visit.
  • Table Tablets: Table tablets are becoming increasingly popular in kid-friendly restaurants. These tablets provide an interactive option for children, offering a variety of games and activities that can keep them entertained throughout the meal. Additionally, some table tablets also feature educational content, providing a fun learning experience for kids.

Kids Seating for Restaurants

child in restaurant high chair

Providing appropriate seating options for children is crucial in kid-friendly restaurants. By offering comfortable and safe seating, you can ensure that families with children have an enjoyable time. Invest in these seating options for your dining room:

  • High Chairs: High chairs are designed to safely accommodate infants and young toddlers during mealtime. High chairs usually have built-in safety features such as harnesses and crotch bars to keep children secure. Look for high chairs with easy-to-clean surfaces and sturdy construction to ensure durability and hygiene.
  • Booster Seats: Booster seats provide a safe and elevated seating option for older toddlers and young children who have outgrown high chairs but still need a boost to comfortably reach the table. Booster seats are typically made of durable materials such as plastic or wood and feature straps or belts to secure the child in place.
  • Larger Tables for Families: In addition to providing appropriate seating for children, offering larger tables specifically designed to accommodate families is essential. These tables should be spacious enough to comfortably seat parents, children, and any additional family members. By having larger tables available, families can dine together without feeling cramped or restricted. Consider investing in tables with rounded corners to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries.

Family-Friendly Bathrooms Supplies

baby changing table in bathroom

A trip to the bathroom can be quite hectic for parents of small children. By outfitting your restrooms with family-friendly amenities, you can ensure that both parents and children comfortable in your facilities. These thoughtful additions will show your commitment to providing exceptional service to all customers.

  • Changing Table: Installing a changing table in the restroom is crucial for families with infants or toddlers. This convenient feature allows parents to easily change their child's diaper in a clean and safe environment. Make sure to choose a changing table that is sturdy, easy to clean, and meets safety standards.
  • Grab bars: Grab bars and hand rails provide extra support and stability, making it easier for parents to assist their children while using the facilities. They are especially helpful for children who are learning to use the toilet independently or are transitioning from a kids potty to a regular toilet.
  • Pull-Down Step Stools: A pull-down step stool allows children to reach the sink and wash their hands without needing assistance. Look for a step stool that is sturdy, easy to clean, and can be easily stored when not in use.
  • Purse Hooks: Adding purse hooks in the restroom is a small but thoughtful detail that can be a great convenience for parents. These hooks provide a designated place for parents to hang their bags, allowing them to have both hands free to assist their children. Choose durable hooks that can securely hold bags of various sizes and weights.
  • Family-Sized Stall: Designating a family-sized stall in the restroom is a practical solution for families with multiple children or individuals who require assistance. This larger stall provides ample space for parents to accompany their children or for families to use the restroom together. Ensure that the family-sized stall is equipped with all the necessary amenities, including a changing table and handrails.
  • Separate Family Bathroom: If space allows, consider creating a separate family bathroom in addition to the regular restrooms. This private and spacious facility provides families with a more comfortable and inclusive experience. A separate family bathroom can be equipped with all the necessary family-friendly amenities, ensuring that families feel welcomed and accommodated.

Build a Kid-Friendly Play Area

While a play area may not be appropriate in a fine dining setting, creating a designated area for kids to play freely in your fast casual restaurant can be advantageous to everyone.

Having a designated space for kids to run freely and play with each other can keep kids from becoming restless, frustrated, and noisy in their seats. Encourage parents to let their children play while waiting for a table, after ordering their food, or at the end of the meal. This can help parents relax, socialize, and spend longer in your establishment.

When designing a play space, it’s important to create an easily visible area for parents, and/or a gated or fenced space to keep kids well-contained. Hire staff who are specially trained to handle children and fill your play space with toys designed to stimulate children of all ages. Check with your local jurisdiction to see if any additional insurance is required when setting up a play area to protect your business from liabilities

Kid-Friendly Restaurant Staff Training

waitress bringing ice cream to smiling children at restaurant table

Your staff plays a crucial role in ensuring a positive and safe experience for families dining with children. Proper training can help your staff understand the unique needs of families and provide exceptional service. Here are some key facts to consider when implementing kid-friendly restaurant staff training:

  • Engaging with children: Teach your staff how to engage with children in a friendly and respectful manner. They should be able to strike up conversations, offer age-appropriate activities or coloring sheets, and make children feel comfortable.
  • Menu knowledge: Ensure that your staff is well-versed in the kid-friendly options on your menu. They should be able to recommend dishes that are popular among children and accommodate any dietary restrictions or allergies. By having a solid understanding of the menu, your staff can confidently assist parents in making suitable choices for their children.
  • Patience and empathy: Stress the importance of patience and empathy when dealing with families. Children may have unpredictable behavior or special needs, and it's essential for your staff to remain calm and understanding. By demonstrating patience and empathy, your staff can help diffuse any potential challenges and create a welcoming setting for everyone.
  • Safety awareness: Emphasize the importance of safety in a kid-friendly restaurant environment. Train your staff on the proper handling of hot food and beverages, as well as how to identify and address potential hazards. This can help prevent accidents in your dining room.

Family-Friendly Restaurant Safety Precautions

While you should always take extra measures to ensure the safety of your guests, it’s especially important to take notice of situations that may be hazardous to families with small children.

Here are a few ways you can ensure your dining area is safe for young kids:

  • Avoid wet or slippery floors and use proper signage to alert parents
  • Cover open sockets with protectors, especially those that are near booths or tables
  • Offer protective padding or covers on sharp corners of tables, counters, and chairs

If you're trying to figure out how to make your restaurant kid-friendly, start with these tips. Above all, remember that you'll go a long way by keeping your young diners happy, and their parents comfortable and relaxed. By incorporating age-appropriate kids menus and creating a space where families feel welcome, you’re sure to keep them coming back to make more memories together.

Join Our Mailing List

Receive coupon codes and more right to your inbox.

Recipe converter
WebstaurantStore blog
Videos of demonstrations, how-tos and more