One of the most popular places to enjoy seafood is restaurants. But some parents shy away from ordering seafood for their kids or taking their kids out to eat altogether. Set your customers up for dining and seafood success with the following tips, several of which come from chefs interviewed for the book “My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus: Raising Children Who Love to Eat Everything” by Nancy Piho:
- Set the scene. Kids do well at good tables with interesting views of street scenes or open kitchens.
- Encourage no noise toys. Provide kids with coloring books and little hand toys to amuse them before the food arrives. Hopefully this will help parents steer clear of DVDs, video games, and electronic toys at the table. These can be distracting to other guests and are the childhood version of texting throughout meals. Skipping the electronics encourages kids to engage with their families as they eat.
- Don’t dumb down kids’ menus. Serve smaller portion sizes of the adult fare, at a reduced price. Eating out at a restaurant should be an opportunity to try new foods and flavors. And that includes the kids!
- Swap in seafood. Update classic kids’ options – like quesadillas, spaghetti, and burgers – by using seafood instead of the usual protein.
- Help parents makeover their mealtime mind-set. Many kids don’t try new foods simply because their parents assume they won’t. Setting the stage for adventurous eating starts with telling tots how much they are going to love their food, as opposed to asking questions like “do you like that?” Servers and chefs can join in too!