Traditionally, the father in the family was the primary club user, occasionally joined by his family for a meal at the club. However, clubs today are more family-centric, offering a wider variety of activities and amenities for all ages. Clubs are focusing on how to make their dining experience unique while trying to be more inclusive of families.
With a growing number of members now bringing their children to dine in clubs, creating kids’ menus has become a priority for club chefs, rather than an afterthought. Some chefs are even creating panels to look for inspiration and input from their club’s younger generation when creating new menus. While it’s still important to have some staple kid-friendly dishes on the menu, chefs are finding that many young diners are looking for more sophisticated options than the traditional mac and cheese or chicken fingers. Some chefs are featuring reduced portion sizes from the a la carte menu for menus created especially for “tween” diners or traditional favorites with kid-friendly twists. Even changing small details, such as substituting Goldfish for croutons, can make items more appealing to children.
Whether it’s brunch that includes a kid’s buffet or weekly dining events and specials to encourage families to have dinner together, clubs are creating a fun atmosphere for families and their dining experience. Many clubs are also loosening restrictions on their dress codes and allowing denim in some parts of the clubhouse. The move toward more casual clothing means more casual dining, and a casual atmosphere makes it more comfortable for parents to dine with their children.
Outdoor dining and creating an environment with outdoor fireplaces, yard games, or play areas for kids is always one of the most popular choices for families. Creating a space where parents can enjoy a meal and either relax or join in with playing with their children feels like a home away from home dining experience. Interactive events for children such as cooking lessons, making your own pizza or pasta, cookie decorating, or even at-home zoom classes help to keep families involved in a unique way.
As new and younger generations of members continue to join clubs, it’s important for clubs to be inclusive of all ages in order to grow. Creating a dining experience for families where they feel welcome encourages members to stay involved with their club and become their go-to establishment for family dinners.