How restaurants are catering to kids

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As parents spend more time with their children during the summer, restaurants have the chance to help families grab dinner during vacation or celebrate a Little League victory, but recent trends show that eateries could capitalize on the opportunities if they respond to kids’ and parents’ evolving needs.

“Kids are different today than they were a decade ago,” said Bonnie Riggs, restaurant analyst for consumer market research firm The NPD Group, in a May report. “They want to grow up fast and don’t want to be thought of as kids. Moms are also more concerned with the foods that their kids are eating. Restaurant operators and foodservice manufacturers understand this and are offering more varied options on kids’ menus, downsized portions and healthy alternatives.”

Of the restaurants featured in the Top 75 Kid-Friendly Restaurants list published last month by OpenTable.com, chains featuring a varied American-fare menu as well as specialty cuisine garnered top ratings as a suitable choice for families. Japanese concept Benihana made the list, for example, and Italian chain Buca di Beppo did particularly well, with 25 of its 86 U.S. locations making the list. Not Your Average Joe’s had six of its 17 restaurants make the top 75 as well. The brand’s kids’ menu has standard choices like chicken fingers, pizza, and mac and cheese, but also more grown-up options like sirloin tips and balsamic-glazed salmon.

Take a look at some more chains that are successfully catering to kids with their menus, as well as chains that have retooled their marketing to become more family friendly.

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