Dig In To The Family Market

Dig In

To The Family Market

Several months ago Restaurant Hospitality got a call from Don Buesing, the gm of Port-O-Call Hotel in Ocean City, New Jersey. Don was so excited and speaking so fast we could barely understand him. When we finally slowed him down, he explained that two years ago his kids meal program at the hotel was nearly non-existent. Port-O-Call had a few kid-friendly items on the menu and charged 99 cents for kids to eat with the hope that parents would be enticed. That was before he attended Restaurant Hospitality’s Kids Marketing Conference.

"I ripped off so many ideas from that conference that I should be jailed," he laughed. "I now have a kids program that is driving profits through the roof. I went from 99-cent check averages per kid to $6.45. On top of that the number of kids we served increased by 28% and, of course, that doesn’t count the two to three adults they bring with them. Imagine that."

Port-O-Call Hotel also went from having a pathetic kids menu program to winning the hotel category in this year’s "Best Kids Menu in America Contest." Imagine that.

What Don and a lot of operators have finally realizied is that kids are a financial force to be reckoned with, not ignored. In addition to having $68 billion of their own money to spend each year, kids directly influence their own family spending to the tune of $160 billion annually.

What follows is a wrap-up of this years Kids Marketing Conference, followed by the results of our seventh annual Best Kids Menu in America Contest. We’re convinced that if you haven’t attended our Kids Conference yet, or entered our Kids Menu Contest, you will after you read what you’ve missed . . . unless, of course, you’re satisfied collecting pennies from million dollar spenders.

Connecting With Kids

Restaurant Hospitality’s 4th Annual Kids

Marketing Conference offered a kaleidoscopic

view of what kids and families want.

The mood of the nation has undergone dramatic changes as of late, making it more important than ever for restaurant operators to cater to the needs of families and kids.

Such was the consensus view of presenters who spoke at Restaurant Hospitality’s 4th annual Kids Marketing Conference, which took place in late February at the Sheraton Hotel and Marina in San Diego, Calif. The gathering provided a comprehensive view of the kids marketplace, offering everything from the latest kids research gathered by global media powerhouses to cookie recipes from celebrity chefs. In between came plenty of practical advice on how full-service operators could design and execute a kids’ marketing plan that’s in tune with the needs and wants of today’s kids.

Those needs and wants are somewha