5 Reasons to Invest in a Family-Friendly Restaurant Franchise

5 Reasons to Invest in a Family-Friendly Restaurant Franchise

Families With Kids are Helping Restaurants Through Uncertain Times

Rising prices have taken a bite out of Americans’ budgets, but families remain undeterred in their desire to dine out. They still seek to connect and share memorable experiences, and there’s no better place than at the dinner table. 

“Our experience at Wingers Alehouse has shown that families will continue to demand consistently high-quality food in a comfortable, friendly environment, and our goal is to give them an amazing experience at a reasonable price,” says Eric Slaymaker, CEO and co-owner with brother Scott Slaymaker of the Wingers Restaurant & Alehouse franchise.

In a recent survey, 38% of all respondents said they were spending less on dining out and planned to cut back even more, but families with children said they were ordering even more frequently and in larger quantities. Families are big business!

1. Boosting the Bottom Line

Restaurant brands that ignore families are leaving money on the table. Families with kids aged 12 and younger make up a quarter of all restaurant traffic and generate an average casual dining ticket that’s 84% greater than those with older or no kids.

Families comprise an even greater market share in the small to medium-sized markets favored by Wingers Alehouse, which has more than 20 locations and counting throughout the Mountain West, Midwest and in development in Texas and Oklahoma.

“Families have always been our core customers, and we recognize that we wouldn’t have had the success we’ve had over the years without them,” Slaymaker says.

2. Broader Customer Base

“Family friendly” does not necessarily translate as “unfriendly to childless adults.” In fact, a family-friendly restaurant franchise typically provides a more pleasant environment for everyone. The atmosphere is congenial, the menu is extensive and varied, and the servers are more patient and attuned to everyone’s needs.

Millennials are parents now, and they’re increasingly reliant on restaurants to feed their families. They are more likely to see dining out as entertainment and as a way to enjoy the company of their families and friends. And while they are laser-focused on their families, they don’t want to sacrifice their own dining enjoyment for their kids’, which means that restaurants catering to this demographic are actually appealing to customers of varied ages.

Wingers Restaurant & Alehouse franchise

Wingers Restaurant & Alehouse understands the importance of “creating amazing experiences” for everyone. “Whether it is dinner with the family, a date night, or socializing with friends while watching a game, the Wingers Alehouse experience is fun and entertaining!” according to the mission statement.

Wingers’ chicken wings and famous “Sticky Fingers” have always been a big draw for families and adults without kids. But, in rebranding with an alehouse concept – which included an expanded selection of beer, revamped menu substituting fresh food for frozen, and sports bar-like atmosphere – the brand’s popularity soared among all demographics, increasing sales by 60% or more, Slaymaker says.

3. Repeat Business

A positive experience at a family-friendly restaurant franchise goes a long way in a family’s decision to return. Let’s face it, no one wants to risk making a hungry kid even crankier by experimenting with a new place that bombs.

Return visits create virtuous circles. Customers and restaurant staff get to know each other, and their positive interactions create a happier experience for everyone. And loyal customers are more likely to recommend a family-friendly restaurant franchise, bring their friends and relatives next time, and show their gratitude by being more generous with tips.

4. Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Families are influencers. Whether it’s through social media or word of mouth at the Little League game, the dance recital or kids’ birthday parties, families have access to each other and instant street cred.

Recent research shows that close friends and family are overwhelmingly the most trusted sources of brand information and advertising is the least trusted. Word of mouth, online and offline, remains the most influential, according to another study.

Family-to-family word of mouth can work both ways – and fast. A negative dining experience can be shared as fast or faster than a positive one. But a family with kids will likely act on a positive review from another family, especially if the kids are involved in the decision.

5. Brand Loyalty

Wingers Restaurant & Alehouse franchise business

Children under 10 influence spending on billions of dollars worth of products and services. Advertisers know this, and often target kids, rather than their parents, as the focal point of their campaigns. 

But in addition to the choices they influence today, children wield power over brands’ future success. Research shows that children’s exposure to brands contributes to loyalty and biases that carry over into their adult lives and are very difficult to change.

Food memories are some of the most indelible, especially when they’re positive. Sharing a delicious meal with family in a fun, unhurried atmosphere creates a nostalgic memory kids will want to recreate as adults with their own kids – and with the same brands.

The Slaymakers have experienced this brand loyalty. “Having opened the first Wingers restaurant in 1993, we’re proud to have served generations of families,” Slaymaker says. “We’ve been privileged to be part of their birthdays, graduations, retirements, and we hope Wingers Alehouse will continue to be part of these family traditions for years to come.” For more information, please visit https://wingerbros.com/franchising-opportunities/.

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Lisa Ocker’s career began at her hometown paper, The Baytown Sun, covering everything from city government to chemical plant disasters, a hurricane and a controversial FEMA buyout of a flood-plagued neighborhood. From there, she moved to South Florida, reporting for the Palm Beach Post and South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspapers, and serving as editor of the regional magazine, Boca Raton. Returning to her home state, she led the re-launch of SUCCESS magazine as editor after a Texas-based entrepreneur bought the 100-year-old brand.

Lisa’s work also has appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Newsweek. She has covered major news events including the space shuttle Challenger explosion and the rape trial and acquittal of William Kennedy Smith, nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Edward Kennedy. Her coverage of immigration issues included reporting on Haitian and Cuban refugee crises while traveling with the U.S. Coast Guard and from the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Her work with SUCCESS included profiles of entrepreneurs Steve Case, Ted Turner and the late Tony Hsieh.

Now living in and working from Santa Fe, NM, Lisa enjoys sharing the challenges and successes of franchisees and franchisors as a contributor to FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine.
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