I don't envy people in the restaurant business. It's tough to succeed. You have limited time and have to invest a lot of money. But some of them, a lot of them in fact, just don't get it.
So I'm here to provide a simple tip to the men and women who dare to dream by opening up an eating establishment: The person who eats the least, has the worst table manners, and is the messiest... is your most important customer.
I'm talking, of course, about children.
A restaurant owner in Pennsylvania not only disagrees with me, he has taken it a step further. He is not allowing children under the age of six in his establishment. He says too many customers have complained about unruly children. While I think he has every right to do this, I do not think his policy is good for business.
But maybe, just maybe, he and every other restaurant owner out there should go the other way. They should bend over backwards and cater to children. Parents would love it. They would literally eat it up. Profits would soar.
And the best way to do that? Eliminate those insulting kids menus.
Wouldn't going out to dinner be a lot less interesting if every restaurant only offered the same four or five meals? Then why do most of them do that to kids?
Kids menus are basically a throw away at most restaurants. They’re an insult. Do these people not have kids? Do they not like kids? They're the pickiest of eaters. And their parents are, for the most part, even pickier about what to feed them.
So change the menu.
Better yet, offer a kid's version of your entrees. It’ll probably cost more. We’ll pay. I would.
Chicken fingers and french fries, pizza, grilled cheese, spaghetti with the worst kind of bland red sauce you can imagine. That’s not dinner in my house.
Where are the vegetables? Where are the healthy choices?
Every night, I cook my family a healthy meal. Protein, vegetable, grain. My daughter eats it. She loves it (most nights). If she doesn't, too bad. That's dinner. As my dad used to tell me when I would refuse to eat my mom's pasta e fagioli growing up, "you don’t have to like it, you have to eat it."
Shouldn't I expect the same from someone I'm paying to cook for me? Granted, when I go out to eat I'm not going to have a completely healthy meal. Something is going to be fried or creamed or there's probably going to be a big juicy slab of red meat on my plate.
But that's my choice. Give children the same choice. More choice
We brought our daughter to a popular local restaurant the other day. While we love this place, their kids' menu is loaded with carbs and fried food.
I told our server I'd like to order my daughter a smaller version of a pasta dish from the main menu.
"Sorry, we don't do that."
You don't? Or you won't? And why not?
So I asked them for the kids' pasta, but with the adults' Bolognese sauce on it. That they could do. (I'm not sure what the difference was either).
And one more thing: How about bringing my daughter's meal out first? Why do we even have to ask? And if we forget to ask, and order appetizers, how about bringing her meal out with the appetizers? How about firing her meal right away, and bringing it before the appetizers?
If they made these simple changes, and made kids a little more of a priority, so many parents would flock to their tables.
There is a big reason why good food is so important to me. Click here to read about it.