Chil­dren boost bot­tom line at cafes

Taranaki Daily News - - News - Bon­nie Flaws and Su­san Ed­munds

Cafes around the coun­try say a wel­com­ing at­ti­tude to­wards chil­dren not only keeps par­ents happy, but is also good for their bot­tom lines.

The is­sue of chil­dren in eater­ies has been in the news this week since Nel­son restau­ra­teur Fabian Pri­oux in­tro­duced a strin­gent no-chil­dren pol­icy in his busi­ness, Abbey Road Burg­ers, Bar and Cafe. No-one aged un­der 12 is wel­come at his cafe, and any­one un­der 18 must be ac­com­pa­nied by a par­ent.

Pri­oux says it has paid off, but other busi­nesses around the coun­try say they ben­e­fit from tak­ing the op­po­site ap­proach.

John Pen­ning­ton, co-owner of The Choco­late Fish Cafe in Welling­ton, of­fers a large out­side space for chil­dren to play.

‘‘It’s a huge part of our busi­ness be­cause we do have that out­side area. Some­times I won­der . . . if it’s the dads that want to come down and play on the side.’’

But he said even on a rainy day when they couldn’t be out­side, chil­dren were an im­por­tant part of the clien­tele.

‘‘From our point of view we are a child-friendly cafe and it’s a huge part of our bot­tom line.’’

Mean­while, Si­mone Richard­son, co-owner of Zep­plin Cafe in Clive, Hawke’s Bay, said it was im­por­tant to her to be fam­i­lyfriendly. The cafe in­cludes a ce­ramic paint­ing stu­dio and has a cov­ered deck with toys where kids can play.

‘‘We love see­ing fam­i­lies com­ing back with their kids. They keep com­ing.’’

Ta­nia Keesing took over Porto-Call in Napier in July. The cafe was al­ready known for of­fer­ing high teas and Devon­shire teas.

‘‘Part of that is dress-ups for adults and for chil­dren,’’ she said.

‘‘We have had an 80th birth­day party at the same time as a kids’ party and they’ve all loved it.’’

She said high teas were be­com­ing pop­u­lar for chil­dren’s birth­day par­ties. ‘‘I’m try­ing to pro­mote that side of it a lit­tle bit. More dress-ups.’’

In Auck­land, Woah! Stu­dios has de­vel­oped a fol­low­ing for its restau­rant, play­ground and movie stu­dio ex­pe­ri­ence.

Other in­ter­na­tional child­friendly busi­nesses are also set­ting up in New Zealand. South African chain Spur Steak Ranches is known over­seas for of­fer­ing big play­grounds and has opened a branch on Auck­land’s North Shore.

Au­thor Emily Writes said it should be ob­vi­ous to busi­nesses that they could ben­e­fit from cater­ing to hu­mans of all ages.

‘‘Some places want us to come in with our money and then ex­clude our chil­dren. It makes the whole din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence re­ally ter­ri­ble for par­ents.’’

‘‘We love see­ing fam­i­lies com­ing back with their kids. They keep com­ing.’’ Si­mone Richard­son


John Pen­ning­ton, in­set, says chil­dren are a big part of his Welling­ton busi­ness, The Choco­late Fish Cafe.

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