Parents have five top requests from cafés and shops on UK high streets, according to research released today by GMI (Global Market Insite), a provider of technology-enabled solutions for global market research. Its study shows how parents of pre-school children believe the high street in Britain is failing them.
The top five parental demands across cafés and shops are:
1. A special children’s menu (84%)
2. Children’s entertainment ie crayons and colouring book at the table (79%)
3. High chairs or booster seats (74%)
4. Baby changing facilities (71%)
5. Child friendly staff (70%)
Supermarket sweep for family friendly shopping
Researchers found 60% of parents of young children agree shops are not doing enough to make the shopping experience family friendly.
Eight in 10 parents (81%) said supermarkets are the easiest type of shop to visit with young children. Other shops scored far lower with toy shops coming second, almost 50 percentage points behind. Parents look for shops offering baby changing facilities (74%), toilet facilities (72%), larger parking spaces (72%), trolleys with child seats (71%), and child friendly staff (57%).
Parents say fast food restaurants are most suited to families
Perhaps it’s a surprise that on a weekly basis, British parents eat out more frequently with their young children (23%) than French (9%) or German (12%) parents.
Almost two thirds (64%) of British parents eat out in fast food restaurants with their young children, and two thirds of those said they suit their needs (42%). Next for meeting their needs are chain restaurants, such as Pizza Express (21%) and supermarket cafes (13%).
Coffee shops, cafes and pubs need to do more for families
Although half (50%) of parents take their children to coffee shops in Britain, only 7% feel they suit their needs. It’s a similar story for pubs: 44% take their children to eat in pubs, only 12% say they are convenient for pre-school kids.
Coffee shops, cafes and restaurants that don’t offer facilities for families with young children risk missing out on business. In this survey, the majority of parents (59%) told us they have taken their pre-school age children to a restaurant specifically because of the family friendly facilities it provides.
So how should coffee shops, cafes and restaurants adapt to be more family friendly?
Ralph Risk, marketing director Europe, said: “On the whole, parents of pre-school children feel that the British high street could do better at catering for their needs. There is a real opportunity to make simple changes, from training staff to be more child-friendly to adding new offers and facilities to encourage families to shop and eat out more together.
“These don’t have to be expensive for business owners – in restaurants a special menu and some form of entertainment were the top two options parents look for. With so many initiatives focused on making the high street more attractive and profitable, it’s a reminder that some simple changes can make a big difference to this particular group.”