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Today's Kids, Tomorrow's Customers

Creating a kid-friendly restaurant not only attracts families and expands your customer base but also establishes a generational connection that extends into the future. Offering unique and nutritious options can instill positive dining habits and foster customer loyalty as today's kids grow into tomorrow's customers.

Pack with Nutrients

It's no small task to convince most children to choose a green vegetable over creamy macaroni and cheese. According to Technomic's 2020 U.S. Generational Consumer Trend Report, 51% of parents agree that healthier kid's menu options would lead them to visit restaurants more often.[1]

With childhood obesity on the rise, providing nutrient-dense food solutions is more critical than ever. According to the National Health Statics Report, 19.7% of children and adolescents aged 2-19 are considered obese, affecting more than 14 million children.[2] Providing healthy food options doesn't have to be difficult, though.

Rice serves as an ideal foundation for the kid’s menu, thanks to its adaptable flavor profile and the familiarity children have with the grain. Being a household staple, rice provides a comforting and well-loved option for even the pickiest of young eaters. Take advantage of this by offering subtly crafted culinary choices that appeal to kids and parents alike.

Making a sauce to mix with rice or pasta? Pureed vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, squash, or carrots are virtually undetectable when added to a sauce. Mixing cauliflower with rice is a great way to sneak an added veggie into a rice dish. Swap out white rice for brown for an instant boost of fiber and magnesium, both of which can help control blood sugar levels.[3] Not only does this decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, but it may also help the kiddos stay full longer.[4] Need a great mac & cheese alternative? Try our Creamy Cheese and Vegetable Risotto that combines the creaminess of mac & cheese with Riceland's fluffy rice and fresh seasonal vegetables.  

Capitalize on seasonal offerings to infuse fresh and vibrant flavors into dishes. By featuring locally sourced vegetables, you continue to support farmers beyond Riceland rice and provide families with a wholesome dining experience.

Sophistication isn't just for Adults

Since the onset of COVID, there has been an increase in adventurous eating among younger diners. Elevate your kid's menu by offering creative and flavorful experiences. Consider adapting existing menu items into kid-friendly portions or deconstructing popular dishes like tacos or salads, giving young diners a hands-on, build-your-own option. Encouraging children to explore diverse flavors enhances their dining experience and mirrors their parents' culinary preferences. 

As suppliers or distributors, you can enable access to unique ingredients that add a touch of sophistication to kid-friendly menus. Allowing restaurants opportunities to incorporate exclusive cheeses, exotic spices, or specialty produce can create memorable and flavorful dishes that help restaurants stand out.

Size Matters

Every parent has encountered those transitional phases with children, facing the decision of whether they can continue scavenging from their parent's plates or require a dedicated kid's meal. Eventually, they reach the inevitable milestone of advancing to the adult menu. In light of escalating prices, offering parents a range of menu sizing options has gained popularity. Keeping the menu the same while creating two portion sizes allows parents more flexibility with the kid's menu and can result in more money spent. Consider offering a "lunch" and"dinner" portion for different age groups, accommodating the varying appetites of toddlers versus adolescents.

As a food supplier or restauranteur, you can help develop seamless adjustments to menu offerings. Whether it’s adapting portion sizes for different age groups or incorporating trending ingredients, proactive supplier partnerships enable restaurants to stay ahead in meeting consumer expectations.

Building a kid-friendly restaurant isn't just about attracting families; it's an investment in the future. By providing nutritious options, introducing sophisticated flavors, and offering flexible portion sizes, you can create a dining experience that appeals to young customers today and fosters a lasting connection that extends into their adult years.

[1] Technomic, U.S. Generational ConsumerTrend Report, 2020

[2] Stierman, Afful, Carrol, et al., NationalHealth and Nutrition Examination Survey 2017-March 2020 Prepandemic Data Files– Development of Files and Prevalence Estimates for Selected Health Outcomes,14 June 2021, National Health Statistics Report Number 158, 

[3] Foster-Powell, Holt, Brand-Miller, International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values, 2002, doi: 10.1093/ajcn/76.1.5.

[4] Sun, Spiegelman, van Dam, et al. WhiteRice, Brown Rice, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women, 14 June2010, Arch Intern Med. 10.1001/archinternmed.2010.109