Family restaurants are a special classification of restaurants that do not merely accept parents and their children into the dining room, but they also cater and market towards families. Many restaurants allow children, or at least do not have an explicit policy against children; however they have not necessarily set a space that is specifically designed for the entertainment or amusement of children - and this sort of family devotion can make all the difference in a true family restaurant.
Fast food restaurants are often kid-friendly and are designed to provide food that a child is almost guaranteed to eat and to occupy a child or children while the parents are eating. For many parents this is a welcomed break. Theses types of family restaurants will often have a play area, either indoor or outdoor, or will at least provide a toy for children to take home.
However, nutritionally, these family restaurants aren't always necessarily the best choice, offering food choices that are best when eaten sparingly and not made as part of a regular meal routine. Also, there may be times when parents want to sit together with their children and enjoy a dining experience as a family. In this case, it would be best to find a restaurant with a slightly more mature atmosphere, where children are still welcome, but not encouraged to play necessarily.
Family restaurants, that are not part of a fast food chain, that provide a kid-friendly atmosphere without the play areas or toys will often have other items, such as crayons and paper available to occupy children. There may even be small travel-sized games at the tables or an area where parents can take children to stretch their legs and burn off energy while waiting for the food to come.
Also, in addition to regular menu items, these family restaurants will also have a separate menu of food choices that are kid-sized and slightly more conducive to their tastes – such as chicken fingers or grilled cheese. There is often a free element involved as well, such as a fun drink cup or dessert. These restaurants allow parents to enjoy their meal, sit together as a family and still be able to control their children in a setting that will not become adverse in the event a child acts up.
Self-serve restaurants are often family friendly restaurants, offering a wide variety of foods in a buffet-style presentation. Here, the atmosphere allows for a slightly higher level of noise and the other clientele are not expecting complete silence out of squirming children. Often, the relaxed mood helps parents to relax themselves and not have to worry about food being accidentally spilled or trampled.
Restaurants with a mainly adult clientele are not conducive to families with children and may refuse to allow children to be seated. It is best that parents understand this and make sure that they are familiar with a restaurant’s policies before bringing children along.
There are a number of options for dining out at family friendly restaurants and parents can save the trip to the more upscale locations for when they have time to themselves.
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