Kids’ tastes ‘drive 24% of family dining out visits’

Research suggests that, in a quarter of family visits to places to eat out, the fact that the kids like the venue is among the main reasons behind its selection.

According to foodservice industry data published by NPD Group, families headed on 3.18 billion visits to eat out during the twelve months to October. Each visit represents a single diner.

The group's calculations show that 763 million of these visits are influenced by kids' preference, and that these come at a value of £4 billion annually.

Kids liking the venue is a main influence in eatery selection in 30 per cent of family visits to branded pub chains, with that figure 29 per cent for fast food eateries and 28 per cent for family-focused casual dining establishments, according to the NPD Group Dine Out Pester Power Scorecard.

"Pester power actually plays a huge role in where families choose to eat out. This may be surprising to some, as pester power is often associated with more obviously child-focused sectors such as toys or confectionary, but kids clearly have a very important voice in the dining out market too," said NPD account manager, foodservice UK, Jack MacIntyre.

He added that mums, dads and kids think its particularly attractive when there are well thought out children's menus that aren't just based on smaller sized versions of adult menu dishes.

They also think it's attractive when a good family focused meal deal is featured, he added.

"Branded pubs are certainly getting this formula right and in the run-up to Christmas and the New Year this could pay dividends," he said.

Children like branded pub features like play areas, board games and TV, Mr MacIntyre suggested.

The data also demonstrates that 'treating myself and/or the kids' provides motivation in 28 per cent of family eating out visits.

The stats suggest that, in Britain 28.8 per cent of eating out market visits are accounted for by families, as well as 31.9 per cent of overall sales.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist hospitality recruitment agency.

Image: Thinkstock.