Take Your Kids’ Menu Global
Entice developing palates with international fare that’s sometimes interactive.
When planning the kids’ section of your menu, don’t underestimate their palates. Many children are well beyond buttered pastas and chicken nuggets. It’s time to put some thought into it. One way of doing so is to tailor heritage cuisine to accommodate little ones’ burgeoning taste buds.
“Kids have a real influence on where families dine, so taking their dining experience into consideration is key,” says John Mountford, COO of Chuy’s, a 36-year-old Tex-Mex chain with more than 100 locations.
“We offer children an array of made-from-scratch, traditional items, as well as authentic family recipes from south Texas, New Mexico and Mexican border towns.” It’s not just authentic food offered at Chuy’s; they also have dough balls, straight from the comal where tortillas are hand-rolled daily, to keep restless kids busy.
Kona Grill, a “kitchen, sushi and cocktails” chain with more than 20 locations, also believes in the power of offering innovative meals to kids, while providing them with one-of-a-kind experiences. “Younger guests need to be treated seriously. Kids get their dietary habits from their parents, so it is important to accommodate their desire to try the same items their parents enjoy,” explains Donovan Swanson, marketing specialist for Kona Grill. “Not only do we offer a greater variety of options, but the interactive component of building their own bento box really supports fun for everyone.”
“Younger guests need to be treated seriously.”
- Donovan Swanson, Marketing Specialistat Kona Grill
Speaking of fun-meets-heritage, Wow Bao, an Asian fast-casual chain headquartered in Chicago, recently launched “Lil’ Bunz Meal,” which includes jasmine rice, two mini teriyaki chicken bao, one ginger chicken pot-sticker and a baby carrot. It’s packaged in the shape of a smiley face for kids under 10.
It certainly makes sense to market these kids’ offerings. “We want to showcase that on top of offering a great happy hour and adult dining, we’re also very family friendly,” says Swanson. “By marketing Kona’s extensive kids’ menu, we broaden our audience, attracting more diners in that family segment.”
Mountford says it best: “We choose to take a real focus on our children diners; if the kids are having a great experience, so are their parents.”