Children’s Pizza Marketing

“Where a kid can be a kid”

I have never been to Chuck E. Cheese’s, and yet hearing this slogan evokes deep-rooted memories of a time in my life when I thought the colorful, fun-filled restaurant epitomized what it meant to be <10 years old. I pleaded with my parents countless times to go. Alas, they never even entertained the idea. And so, my childhood is marked by the scar of never truly experiencing the only place on earth “Where a kid can be a kid”.

Throughout the last few months, I have been analyzing pizza restaurants’ marketing, advertising, and communication strategies. The companies I have observed (Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Little Caesar’s, Godfathers, and Goodman’s American Pie) are all lacking in one area: marketing aimed at children. According to Pizza Marketing Quarterly, there are five key elements for a successful kids marketing program for pizzerias. This is what stood out to me the most.

  • From supplying a coloring page menu, to offering a “kids cut” on children’s slices, to providing a kids meal option (a slice, a dessert, and a drink) are big hits for parents who are trying to avoid a fuss-free meal.
  • A separate kids’ space can be utilized for children to make noise and run around while they are waiting to eat. Some restaurants go as far as giving kids a piece of pizza dough to play with upon arrival.
  • Sponsoring a local sports team by hosting events, dinners, and fundraisers will bring parents to your restaurant and can help develop loyalty to your business.
  • Alami notes that employees “should engage children of all ages by looking them in the eye, talking to them and smiling, and know how to anticipate kids’ needs, such as extra napkins and plastic water cups with covers and straws for toddlers.”

And now I know why many restaurants choose not to market to kids. Besides being a less important demographic (kids don’t have purchasing power), children are a nightmare to serve and a nightmare to be around while your trying to eat dinner. It sounded to me like Morin was writing about ways to turn your restaurant into a sticky, loud, playground where parents can drop their kids off to be babysat while they enjoy a beer as far away as possible. What do you think? Am I just bitter about my adult-centered childhood or are you in agreement?

screaming children at restaurants

my kind of dining experience


Filed under Media Literacy, NP

3 responses to “Children’s Pizza Marketing

  1. I stand in agreement with the strategies for looking kids in the eye and smiling. Providing for them as well as the parents but this is only from my point of view and experience as a father who has attempted to teach our children how to behave when out. I know all to well this isolated view because of seeing on the rare occasion of going out to eat the behavior of both parents and wild acting children, but more directly from my wife who works serving them. Rich or poor, does not matter, it seems all too common parents dont want to direct their children in public knowing the disrespectful response and want to be far away from them, never mind the waste created by untouched meals.
    Im not sure what to think about a warning sign, it almost warns of a confrontation. I think to provide a place for the children separate from the parents is the trend looking at what we know in dining today. It seems too idyllic a picture to see the well behaved family out to share a meal.

  2. katie

    I never got to go to chuckee cheese either! The idea that kids aren’t a worth-it target audience seems off kids are pretty convincing when they whine, even if we didn’t get out way with Chuckee Cheese.

  3. Aly

    Interesting blog topic.
    I agree with you that the reason most pizzerias don’t direct their marketing strategies towards children is because they don’t want to wind up like a Chuck E. Cheese. Nobody goes to Chuck E. Cheese because the quality of pizza is so amazing, families go because it is an acceptable place for children to play games and run around and make messes that someone else will clean up. Maybe it’s because I grew up in suburban New Jersey where there are approximately 15 pizzerias in a one mile radius, but I think if you want your pizza to be taken seriously then you need to promote the quality of your pizza target a more mature audience.
    Also I think there’s a difference in a pizza place being prepared to accommodate children (like having booster seats, extra napkins, and cups with tops) and marketing directed towards them (which usually requires strangers dressed in large furry costumes or an arcade). A “family friendly atmosphere” would seem to be the happy medium.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s