Posted on January 30 2019
Kid friendly meals are hot ticket items. And not just any kid friendly meals or children’s menus. Gourmet is the name of the game and parents are willing to pay top dollar for healthier, more exotic, and delicious children’s food choices. But what is gourmet, why pay more for it and how can you incorporate it into your restaurant menu?
Children’s Menu Trends: Looking at menu trends over the last five years, including lists of foods and beverages expected to grab consumers’ attention and capture the market, the terms “healthful kids’ meals, “gourmet items in kids’ meals,” and “ethnic-inspired kids’ dishes” increasingly make the grade.
History of Kids’ Meals: So, if you’re thinking standard fast-food for kids, such as burger-fries-soft drink with a pickle on the side, replace the familiar fanfare with new-and-improved ‘gourmet’ versions of kids’ meals, such as ramen noodles served in bento boxes, or authentic barbequed ribs and grilled burgers. Tacos and quesadillas are always favorites, or perhaps pad thai or an Indonesian peanut saute or stick. More familiar dishes like chicken noodle soup or gourmet style mac and cheese can be incorporated into your menu to weave the old and familiar with the new and more exotic.
A look at the history of kids’ meals corroborates current market trends as evidenced by children’s menus evolving to include more varied options with healthier selections. And to keep your youngest customers – and their parents – coming back, be sure to offer upgraded children’s choices that are fat-free, gluten-free, non-dairy, and nut-free for kids with allergies.
This trend started as far back as 1973, when kids’ meals first made its appearance with the “Funmeal,” debuted at BurgerChef. Its success was followed by McDonald’s “Happy Meal,” introduced in 1978, after which other fast food establishments began offering their own children’s meal menus. This trend shifted accordingly towards the healthier, so by 2011, a total of 19 food chains participated in the Kids Live Well program, promising to “offer at least one children’s meal that has fewer than 600 calories, no soft drinks and at least two items from the following food groups: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins or low-fat dairy.”
How can You Boost Your Business with Gourmet Kids’ Meals: Many families enjoy dining out, and as revealed in an NRA 2017 State of the Industry report, both millennials and Generation Xers tend to base their restaurant selections on the availability of locally sourced, environmentally-friendly, nutritious food selections. Moreover, 74% of millennials identified healthy menu items as the deciding factor between restaurants.
How to Cater to Kids: As a dedicated food industry professional, customer satisfaction rates high on your list of priorities, as does your commitment to growing your establishment. You can easily accomplish both goals by adding a generous helping of gourmet kids’ foods and healthier selections to your menu.
Gourmet Kids Menus: An Affordable and Wise Investment: And here is some more good food for thought: investing in kids and in children’ menus is an affordable and wise investment with a strong ROI. Enhance families’ dining out experience and you will enhance your business. In fact, when asked in a Kidzsmart survey what they liked most about eating out, children’s top answers were: Spending time with family, fun, and the food.
Kid Friendly Tips for Your Eatery: In addition to offering special kid friendly gourmet and nutritious meals, service and hospitality rank high on parents’ wish list and parents have identified service as a leading factor in their eatery selection. Creating a fun kids’ corner to occupy young customers is another savvy way to create income (furnished with games, toys, books, building blocks, or a sandpit), as is greeting kids warmly, calling kids by their first name, and here is another great tip: adding kid-friendly names to items on your menu!
Gourmet Foods for Kids – Our Say: In an age of fierce industry competition, you want to find new ways to stand out from the crowd and promote your business. Conscientious, smart marketing strategies include adding gourmet choices for kids that include healthy, locally sourced and nutritious foods, expanding and improving your restaurant’s food selections, and enhancing your guests’ experience. Follow these protocols and you are sure to enjoy the pleasing taste of your ensuing profits!