What makes a baby friendly restaurant?
Remember B.B. (before baby) when you would spontaneously grab a bite at your favorite restaurants? Well, now that you’re a parent, you may have lost a little of that spontaneity but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a meal out…with your children. The key, just like all parenting hacks, is being prepared. And the good news is that the restaurant industry as a whole is working hard to appeal to 24 to 39-year-olds, who are parents or parents-to-be. And according to Technomic’s Generational Consumer Trend Report, this age group values kid-friendliness more than any other generation.
Consider the following tips to help you and your family enjoy your next meal out.
Check the Vibe
You’ll know as soon as you scope out a restaurant’s social pages–Instagram and Facebook or as soon as you walk through the doors. If you see a glimmer of candle light or white linens, steer clear. Not to say you can’t take your baby to a five star restaurant but it might not be the best choice. You might want to look for restaurants that offer optimal seating (corner seating, booths, no high top tables) and space, you need a place for your gear (car seat, diaper bag, stroller, etc.), easy to clean tables, and diaper changing stations in both the men and women’s restrooms, or better yet a family restroom with a diaper changing station.
Is There a Menu?
A children’s menu is a good sign that you chose a restaurant that caters to a younger crowd. Just because they have a kid’s menu doesn’t mean you have to order off of it. In fact, sometimes it’s easier, more economical and more fun to share your “adult” menu items with your child. But for the sake of planning, you can pretty much count on similar items on most kids’ menus: chicken fingers, hamburger, hot dog, buttered noodles, grilled cheese, and an option for a fresh fruit or veggie and a milk.
The Right Stuff
A restaurant with high chairs, booster seats, kid’s menu, kid-friendly drink options like milk and natural juices, and tight-fitting lids and straws. When you have access to the essentials for your child it helps you relax, which can help your child relax and that can make your dining experience more enjoyable.
If a restaurant offers the a kid-friendly vibe; menu, seating, and essentials you can feel confident that the staff is comfortable serving families and children. But, it’s still a good idea to mention beforehand that you would like the check after you order, or perhaps put in that appetizer order and kids’ orders at the same time or request the complementary pretzels or bread basket ASAP to avoid any “hangry” situations.