Your family's favorite dining spot is about more than what a hipster on Yelp thinks is cool. Finding that perfect family-friendly restaurant is going to involve a lot of layers. There's so much to consider—from the menu to the ages of your family members and from the friendliness of the restaurant to its pricing. And what about the rest of the clientele? Will toddler (or teenager) meltdowns be tolerated or tsked?
That's a lot of question marks, but don't be discouraged. Instead of throwing up your hands and hitting the nearest drive-thru, why not create your own five-star rating system? From menu to price and everything in between, consider ranking your restaurants to find the perfect fit for you and your family.
Obviously! Let's face it, a restaurant is nothing if the food isn't good. Consider your experience and rank it from, “send it back,” to downright delicious. If the best you can say is that no one sent it back, then that might be a two. If even one person comments on how delicious it is, then that restaurant should get at least four stars.
Think about why you are going out to eat. Is there a game on that you don't want to miss? Will there be other kids and families there? Was the server attentive? Did the food come out in a reasonable amount of time? If all of these factors come out in your favor, consider it a five-star establishment.
If you're looking for family-friendly dining, then you are probably also looking for a place that is reasonably priced. Even though a restaurant may appear to be budget-friendly, remember to check if there are any hidden costs. Are sides extra? Do sodas come with free refills? Do kids eat free? Is there a happy hour? If you're paying one price for a burger only to discover another charge for a small side of fries and yet another for a drink (multiplied by everyone you're with) no matter how good the food is, that restaurant gets maybe three stars on a good day. Set your dinner budget and then start subtracting stars as the cost rises.
Can you make everyone in your party happy? It’s a tall order. If your party of six swings from grade-schooler to grandma, then your chosen dining establishment needs to nearly have it all: The perfect blend that everyone can enjoy. One quick gauge is the kid's menu — you’d love to see more than four options. In that case, simply having a kids menu could equal 2 stars and every item over four could add another star.
Make sure any diet restrictions can be met by the restaurant ahead of time. From allergy related considerations like gluten, dairy, and shellfish to vegetarian and vegan or low-fat options. Of course, this is a category that will carry more weight for some, and not matter at all to others. You might make this category a six star if you have someone with a gluten allergy in your party. And you might eliminate this category altogether if your group is truly omnivorous.
Now that you know what your rating system should entail, your family can go forth and find their dream dining establishment with confidence. However, if you should find yourself still stuck for a savory solution, Buffalo Wings & Rings has you covered. We pride ourselves in our family and budget-friendly atmosphere, our variety of menu offerings, our sports selections, our cleanliness, and the friendliness of our staff. Come in and rank us according to your scorecard!