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Simple Ways to Increase Sales at Your Family Restaurant

Children are the key to increasing your family restaurant's sales

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There are two fundamental ways for any restaurant to increase sales: bring in more customers or get patrons to buy more. Savvy restaurateurs find effective ways to do both. Because children are key to your family restaurant's business, you have unique opportunities for attracting new clientele and up-selling. Here are two ways to get more customers through your doors and two ways to encourage them to purchase more.

Set Up Cross-Promotions

Arrange cross-promotions with other local family or kid-oriented businesses. Approach owners of toy and video game stores, book and clothing stores, candy or ice cream shops, and other family-friendly retail outlets about a promotional partnership. They can provide customers with coupons for your establishment, and vice versa. You can set spending requirements to receive coupons, but it's better to be generous than to appear stingy. Even pediatricians, child dentists, or orthodontists seeking new patients may be interested in a cross-promotional offering.

Approach Youth Leagues and Organizations

Sponsor a youth sports team. For a relatively small donation, teams can advertise your brand in various ways. Provide flyers, menus, or coupons. If you prefer no upfront costs, talk to coaches of youth teams, boy and girl scout troop leaders, and directors of youth organizations about your family restaurant. Welcome them to your establishment after games, meetings, or events. Make your invitation more enticing with an incentive like a group discount or free beverages or desserts.

Discount Appetizer and Desserts Platters

Put a family-sized appetizer and dessert platter on your menu and include a sampling of foods on each. The more variety, the smaller the portions you can serve. Identify these platters as discount opportunities for whole families to take advantage of, and price them accordingly. Refrain from the common practice of including a cookie or other small dessert as part of a children's meal.

Keep Young Children Entertained

Taking young children to a restaurant can be stressful for parents, because misbehaving kids can embarrass the family. A child's propensity to act up can keep families at home, but it also prompts them to get in and out of the restaurant as quickly as possible. That means fewer appetizer and dessert sales.

Encourage your wait staff to interact with children. If you don't provide young children with crayons and something to color, you should consider other types of distractions. When you anticipate an extended wait for service or food, give kids more than one placemat to color— this keeps them occupied longer. Stock up on cheap toys at a dollar store, and give them to children when they finish their entree. This keeps them entertained, and as fast food establishments discovered long ago, it makes children request meals at your restaurant. While many family restaurants are obliging by turning out young children's food first, this can leave children full, bored, and antsy before the rest of the group is finished. That often means no dessert for anyone.

These ideas are relatively affordable and easy to implement. Focus on the fact that children are an essential component to your family restaurant business. Make the kids happy, and you'll make their parents happy, too. Once parents discover that your restaurant facilitates a pleasant family night out, they'll be back, and they'll be telling other parents about your place.

Written by: Jon Mohrman

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