“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?