How to make your business baby friendly

May 6, 2009

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My wife and I have a 20 month old daughter.  In the time since she was born, we have become very aware of which businesses are baby friendly and which are not.  Some places are so baby-unfriendly that we don’t go there any more – and likely won’t return even after our daughter is older.  So, what can a business (in particular, a restaurant) do to retain customers who now have a little one?

Changing stations

Changing stations are probably the single most critical factor.  If you are a restaurant and you don’t have changing stations, there is a very good chance that you will lose some customers.  Some places are still embracing stereotypes from decades ago by placing changing stations only in the women’s bathrooms.  Seriously, folks, get with the program.  There are a lot of men changing diapers these days.  I’m sure the changing stations are not a trivial expense, but you’ll come out ahead in the long run.  Personally, I have been a bit fan of the changing stations at Target stores.  Oddly, we have encountered isolated situations in a Wal-Mart and in a McDonalds where there were no changing stations in the men’s bathroom.  This was especially surprising for a business that is as kid-focused as McDonalds.

High chairs

If you’re a restaurant, have high chairs.  Just as importantly, have high chairs that are clean and functional.  We have encountered a multitude of dirty high chairs (Pampers wipes to the rescue!) and quite a few that are broken (usually a problem with the restraining straps).  This gives parents a bad first impression of your restaurant.  Spend a bit of time on QA and fix the problems with the chairs before the customers see them.  Often, it doesn’t seem that the problem would be difficult fo fix.  As for the cleanliness of the chairs, it only makes sense to clean them after each use.

Kids meals

Have at least a few options on the kids menu.  I’m not suggesting that you need twenty different entrees; just bear in mind that not every kid in the world loves chicken fingers (although, admittedly, most of them do).  Also, consider different portion sizes for different prices.  An 18 month old is not going to eat as much as a five year old.  Also, don’t ask if the parents of a three month old need a kids menu.  They don’t, trust me 🙂

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Baker @ ManVsDebt
    May 06, 2009 @ 07:35:35

    This is a really great point you bring up. Until you have kid’s you really don’t notice these type of things.

    Our daughter is going on 13 months now and we are bumping into the same sort of problems. I’m really surprised at this day in age how many businesses just don’t consider this at all.

    Like you’ve outlined, it’s not super expensive and these kind of measure go a long way at building loyalty among parents. Good post!

    Baker @ ManVsDebt’s last blog post..[Video] What’s The Actual Point Of Budgeting?


  2. kosmo
    May 06, 2009 @ 08:28:35

    Yeah, it seems that a few bucks up front could reap a lot of value down the road. If you make it easy for me to change a diaper, I *will* remember, and I will return to your business.


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