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Five top tips - How to create a winning children’s menu

For many parents, choosing where to eat out is not only influenced by convenience and their own personal choice, but also by what their kids want to eat, or should we say, what they want their kids to eat. The trick to creating a quality kid’s menu is to make it so that adults would want to order from it as well.

If done well, introducing a children’s menu could not only improve customer loyalty, but could also grow your bottom line. Therefore, offering top quality food, drink and service is absolutely key.

1. Health is best

The best children’s menus are those that make it easy and delicious for kids to enjoy a healthy meal. Therefore offering a well-balanced menu with healthy choices and high-quality ingredients will improve your kids menu. Consider including side portions of vegetables as a standard on menus, along with fruit based desserts for a sweet treat. Simply minimising fried products on offer could also create a much healthier menu. Most importantly though, put nutritious food and drink at the heart of your business and always think of innovative ideas to make healthier choices fun and interactive.

2. Go fruity with drinks

Offering healthier drink alternatives is all the rage, especially with children so ensure that fruit based, no added sugar drinks are clearly labelled options and are visible on menus. Position them ahead of sugary drinks to tempt customers. Britvic’s Fruit Shoot range is a popular option - sweetened only with real fruit, using 100% naturally-sourced ingredients, free from preservatives, added sugar, sweeteners and containing no artificial colours or flavourings.

3. Build your own meals

Build your own meals are a big hit with children and parents because they allow the child to take control of their food choices. The Sizzling Pubs Group does this well, allowing kids, or their parents, to build their meal in three easy steps. Kids can choose from sizzling favourites including, pasta bolognese, chicken wrap or veggie lasagne, plus a side and veg option. This is a great way to cross-utilise ingredients and products from other dishes during different times of the day. Ensure you have plenty of options available as people like variety. Offering special offers on children’s menus as well as money off for families will support in increasing footfall and sales. Consider deals such as ‘kids eat for £1 with an adult main’, and don’t forget to use all social media channels to shout about the offer.

4. Make your menu profitable

With parents keeping an even closer eye on what their kids consume, just offering the likes of fish fingers and chicken nuggets is no longer a profitable option. Think about the products and quality ingredients you are already using and utilise them. It’s always more efficient and cost effective when you can leverage a single ingredient or product across multiple menu items. And with the premiumisation trend set to continue, don’t miss out on an opportunity to charge a little more for your more premium items including sauces, dips and drinks.

Instead of a children's menu, why not halve the sizes of a range of dishes on your main menu for kids. Not all adult meals will be suitable, and children’s menus must be nutritionally balanced according to their age, but many parents would welcome more grown up and adventurous dishes for younger ones.

5. Simplicity is key

Keep it simple. Don’t try to be too fancy when it comes to introducing certain sides, sauces or garnishes to dishes. Keep the offering clean, honest and real. Kids and parents will respond much better to these offerings.