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31. March 2023, 4 min read

Tag, you’re it: 3 different ways to be a child-friendly restaurant

Author: Marie Elbo
Children making pizzas
Children making pizzas

Child-friendly restaurant – these three words can make many guests and restaurant workers tremble. Luckily, there are many ways of becoming a child-friendly or family-friendly restaurant. We’ve gathered 3 suggestions for restaurants that are interested in providing a good restaurant experience for the smallest guests, and perhaps even passing on their love of food by teaching kids about the fundamentals of cooking.

Many restaurateurs strive, among other things, to create a safe space for adults. Adults, who in most cases prefer to enjoy a quiet evening with a good meal free of the hustle and the bustle of the city, work, and finally: to catch a break from their children. Especially high-end restaurants work as culinary refuges where parents and the remaining clientele can take in all the facets of a holistic dining experience. But what if you decided to open the doors for the small ones? The following are suggestions for restaurants that are interested in inviting children into their colourful, culinary universe.

1) Share your passion for cooking with local school kids

If your restaurant’s dining concept doesn’t appeal to families with children, you should consider inviting them over to your restaurant during closing hours, or between the lunch and dinner rush. Why? You may ask.  

The art of cooking and the enjoyment of preparing and sharing a meal is the core passion of most chefs and restaurateurs. Instead of only having children over as guests, you might want to consider including them in the meal preparation process for learning purposes. For instance, you can invite school classes over and teach them how to remove fish bones, make homemade mayonnaise or bake sourdough bread. By doing this, you can pass on your knowledge of where the produce comes from, and what flavour combinations complement each other. This will give them a better understanding and respect for your craft. Moreover, it can: 

The Municipality of Copenhagen has a concept called ‘Åben Skole’, which means ‘Open School’. Teachers in Copenhagen use this offer since the children have an outstanding opportunity to learn various valuable crafts in practice. A similar concept, Aktiv i Oslo, exists in Oslo, Norway, where pupils can acquire useful knowledge about a craft or subject through play and “learning by doing”.

Schools love to visit and learn from external partners! A questionnaire by School Education Gateway from 2022 with 184 respondents from 25 countries (86% of the respondents consisted of teachers and deans) shows that a majority organise activities outside the classroom at least once a month. Furthermore, they express that the cooperation between the external partners has had a positive influence on daily operations. Not only would such a concept benefit your business – it would also contribute to the daily operations of learning institutions!

This is the perfect solution for restaurants that prefer an adult audience in the evening but are up for sharing their secret ingredients and love for cooking with kids. Finally, both your restaurant and local schools will benefit from this solution.

2) Host child-friendly events

Option two is for you, who prefer to welcome families with kids when your restaurant isn’t that busy. This solution is both beneficial for your business and then you get to throw a fun event they won’t soon forget!

Hand and foot print in clay

Brunch and baby feet in clay

Be among the first places new parents bring their babies after their angels have entered this world. Drewsens Spisehus Silkeborg in Denmark has opened its doors to parents and their babies. They’re hosting an event in April for new parents. The program consists of an interesting lecture about maternity/paternity leave, clay print sessions of the baby’s hands, and the cherry on top: a scrumptious brunch!

An event such as this one can leave many parents with a positive view of the restaurant. Furthermore, they’ll most likely share their experience with friends and family.

By doing this, your restaurant could become a meeting place for new parents. Who knows, maybe an event such as this one could result in new relationships between the participating guests. Additionally, your place will most likely be mentioned every time people ask, “where did you meet each other?”. Talk about lifetime advertising! 

Welcome kids for holiday-themed events

If your restaurant is open to being kid-friendly for some special events during the holidays, you should consider hosting fun events for kids and their families. How about hosting an Easter event with ‘egg painting’ and a lovely Easter lunch? Together with the opportunity of enjoying a tasty meal, you’ll give them a fun and memorable dining experience!

Two children on a swingset

3) Go all-in

Are you among the restaurants that wouldn’t mind having families with children over for lunch or dinner? There are very simple things you can do to show that your place is child-friendly.

For instance, you can provide families with children with

If you want to go all-in, you can dedicate an area solely to games and play. If the space inside is limited, but you have a large outdoor area, you should consider using this space. How about putting up a football goal, a basketball hoop, a tetherball pole or perhaps a swing? Then the parents can ‘have their boring grown-up talk’ while the kids have a great time outdoors.

It’s possible to become a child-friendly restaurant in more than just one way. Some kids may appear loud and picky at first glance, but they can also be curious and attentive. You can become a child-friendly restaurant by choosing to go all-in, occasionally creating events for families with children, or perhaps just teaching local kids the fundamentals of cooking.