The last thing you probably want to deal with is worrying about whether or not the restaurant you are at will cater to of your family’s needs. Sure, it is important to make sure that you and your spouse enjoy your meal, but what happens if your children aren’t happy? Do you want to make the effort to pile all your kids up in a car and drive someplace, only to find out that the restaurant isn’t child-friendly?
Planning ahead is crucial to ensure a successful dining experience. Asking yourself these five critical questions helps you become more well-informed when selecting a child-friendly restaurant.
Does the Restaurant Offer Child-Friendly Menu Options?
Lots of restaurants offer a children’s menu. These items are generally similar to dishes found on their regular menu, but with smaller portions. Some offer specials such as a free dessert and drink.
Sometimes the choices are quite limited which isn’t very helpful if your child is a picky eater. In any case, call ahead and ask if there is a children’s menu. Also, ask if you can pick an item from the standard menu but have it in a smaller portion. If so, try to choose ahead of time what each child wants in order to have a stress-free dining experience.
If your child has a food allergy, make sure that the menu can carter to different dietary restrictions. Most restaurants feature their menu on their websites or simply call to ask how the restaurant you plan on dining in can cater to your needs.
Is There Child-Friendly Seating?
How will your children eat if they cannot reach their food? Or worse yet, what if they have to sit on your lap and throw their food all over yours?
Find out ahead of time if there are any high chairs or booster seats for your children. Take the time to see if the chairs and booster seats they use are sturdy and heavy duty. If your children aren’t comfortable, chances are none of you will enjoy your dining experience.
Is the Restaurant Easy to Get in and Out of?
For families with strollers or small children, having too many steps, corners, or hard to find restrooms doesn’t make it very child friendly. Restaurants with ramps are an ideal option if you want to wheel your child into the restaurant. Ideally, you’d also want to be in a restaurant with or an open floor plan that has lots of room so your children don’t injure themselves accidentally or tire themselves out by walking too far to their table.
Is the Staff Friendly and Knowledgeable?
Let’s face it: nothing is worse than having horrible service at a restaurant. Even worse if your child is hungry and cranky. It will only add to your crappy dining experience.
Ask around or look at reviews to see if the restaurant you want to go to has friendly staff. See if they are knowledgeable about menu items if you have dietary restrictions or how long wait times might be. You cannot avoid waiting for your food, but if your server can at least let you know when your food will arrive, you can let your children know in case they get impatient.
Excellent staff also ensures that your food won’t get cold. Some also truly enjoy being around children and may even take the time to entertain them. The less complaints you get from your kids, the better of a time you will have.
Are there Child-Friendly Activities?
The less you have to think about ways to entertain your kids when dining out, the better. Do some research and see what types of activities local restaurants offer, such as coloring books, crayons, or white paper over tablecloths so your child can draw.
Some restaurants go so far as to put on kid-friendly channels on their TVs near the bar area. Other ideas include giving out balloons, a souvenir cup, or even an activity book to take home. The more activities a restaurant offers, the higher chance your child will have an excellent time.
It doesn’t take much effort to ensure that you and your family have a fuss-free experience. Make sure to ask these five questions and you’ll want to dine out again and again.
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