With the AFL Grand Final and school holidays on I figured it was time to take a week off and enjoy some time with the family.
We went down the coast last week for a few nights and the wife and I decided it was time to hit a few local pubs and RSL’s to save ourselves the hassle of cooking for a couple of overly wound up children.
With my feet in both the family camp and the hospitality industry camp I felt I had something of a unique perspective when heading to a pub or club for a family dinner.
Over the last ten to fifteen years we have seen a shift as the industry makes a bigger attempt to connect with families.
Management at these types of venues are endeavouring to stay in touch with the changing needs of those transitioning into family life.
For other venues, catering to families can be something of an afterthought with some even making a conscious decision not to pursue this section of the market.
It was interesting how quickly I viewed venues differently with the kids in tow. Usually, I’m looking at things like promotions, staff presentation and entertainment offerings. Last week I was on the lookout for colouring books, chicken nuggets and playgrounds!
I noticed the venues that were catering to families were enjoying incredible business catering to everyone from the kids to grandparents. I saw tonnes of examples of kids happily playing and making new friends while mum and dad, grandma and grandpa enjoyed a couple of drinks, a nice meal and a brief moment of peace!
The atmosphere of the whole venue was boosted and bar and bistro sales were booming because these venues had put some thought into how they would cater to families.
Below are some good ideas that venues are putting into practice in order to capitalise on the huge family market.
Kids dining specials
By offering a suitable kid’s meal at a reasonable rate or even for free venues draw families in and create wonderful atmosphere at their venue. Often groups of families and friends come along and enjoy a meal and a few drinks while the kids have a quick meal before settling in at the play area and making new friends.
More and more venues are setting up their own kids clubs. Parents can be kept in the loop on what’s being offered to the kids, holiday programs and even birthday offers. This is a great way for venues to keep in touch with families year round and continue welcoming them back.
There are tonnes of different events you can offer to families during school holidays. Depending on the season I have seen venues offering face painting, cricket clinics, jumping casltes and even a petting zoo!
The old days of a pub or club purely catering to adults are over. Keep this in mind with the summer holidays fast approaching. Get the families in and watch your whole venue thrive!