WILBRAHAM, Mass. -- The My Friendly's/My Meals Kids Menu introduced by Friendly's Restaurants a year ago won first place in Restaurant Hospitality's hotly contested annual competition for kids menus. Introduced in July 2006, Friendly's new kids menu was the winner in the family restaurant category of the magazine's 14th annual competition. Results were announced in the June 2007 issue of the magazine.
"This is the third time that Friendly's has won this award for having the best kids menu of any family restaurant, and we're extremely proud," said Nancy Polak, Marketing Manager for Friendly's. "To win this award from among so many excellent competitors demanded that we listen to our younger customers and respond to their needs with creativity and innovation. It was a true team effort."
Friendly's dramatic departure from traditional approaches to kids menus boosted sales by 7.2% in the first seven months following the menu's introduction. The keys to success start with the self-standing menu's big, bold triangular shape that is reminiscent of a puzzle and just begs to be opened.
Inside, the menu recognizes that what appeals to a five year old and a twelve year old will likely be very different. Younger kids may yearn for the comfort of familiar, easy-to-handle favorites like mac and cheese, while older kids want more sophisticated choices and bigger portions.
So, Friendly's divides its menu into choices for kids who are "hungry" and bigger meals for those who are "really hungry." This approach subtly caters to younger and older kids' needs -- including the growing "tween" market -- while still giving every kid the freedom to choose from either section.
"Older kids can feel comfortable ordering from the smaller appetites section of the menu. It doesn't mean they're babies,' it just means they're not famished that day," said Polak. "We know that parents also appreciate the difference in portion size -- and price -- that goes with each menu section."
The My Meals menu enables even the youngest kids to order with ease. Each drink, meal and dessert is clearly pictured as well as described, and the menu guides kids through the choices in drinks, meals and dessert in three easy steps. Youngsters also feel in control because they can substitute one of six different sides -- including healthful choices like mixed vegetables, broccoli and applesauce -- with any meal. Options like add-a-salad or soup, Wrap Session with Salad meal, and nutrition-rich beverages like milk and juices also appeal to health-savvy families.
Friendly's extends the positive "kid experience" through other channels. The printed menu points kids to Friendlys.com, where activities include proprietary Webisodes that feature "the Earth's Mightiest Food Fighters," printable comics, and Friendly's Birthday Club (with parental permission). In the restaurant, kids are treated to balloons, activity book, placemats, crayons, kid-sized drink cups, and color-changing straws.
To keep its kids strategy on target in a fast-changing market, Friendly's turns to the Fab 50 -- its own group of youngsters selected each year from core markets. Members' opinions are carefully considered in menu and product development.
Friendly Ice Cream Corporation (Amex: FRN) is a vertically integrated restaurant company serving signature sandwiches, entrees and ice cream desserts in a friendly, family environment in more than 510 company and franchised restaurants throughout the Northeast. The company also manufactures ice cream, which is distributed through more than 4,000 supermarkets and other retail locations. With a 71-year operating history, Friendly's enjoys strong brand recognition and is currently revitalizing its restaurants and introducing new products to grow its customer base.Back to list
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