How Leading Brands Drive Sales by Winning with Families
Webinar Key Takeaways
Families With Kids Are Important to
Restaurants’ Bottom Line
Meet the Speakers
Families Want Fun Experiences From
Delivering on the Basics: Meeting Kids’
& Parents’ Expectations
Being Authentic to the Brand is Key to
Kids’ Program Success
Opportunities to Go Above and Beyond
View Key Takeaways
Watch the Webinar
• Grant Springer, Director, Brand Marketing & Activation, SONIC Drive-In
• Beth Franklin, Manager, Digital Marketing, Texas Roadhouse
• Jennifer Loper, President, C3
• Caroline Lerro, Vice President of Account Management, C3
Families with kids are important to restaurants’ bottom line
Share this page
Previous | Next
"All of these processes together form supply chain management."
- Puneet Saxena, Blue Yonder
The C3 crew have really helped us with research to really understand more about who our guests are. And when you look at the numbers and the data … [it’s clear that families are] a critical portion of our overall audience.
- Grant Springer, Director, Brand Marketing & Activation, SONIC Drive-In
of parents say their child
influences restaurant choice.
Parent Asks Child’s Opinion
Parent Keeps Child’s Preferences in Mind
the percentage of parents who say their child influences their restaurant choice.
#1 = FOOD that kids love
What makes a restaurant kid friendly:
the percentage of restaurant traffic from families with children 12
restaurant sales from families with children 12
average check size when kids 12 & under
What are families looking for in a restaurant?What are families looking for in a restaurant?
What are families looking for in
Kids influence where families dine and drive
You can’t underestimate how important families with kids are for restaurants. Jennifer Loper from C3 shared research-based insights about the impact of families with children on restaurants.
- Jennifer Loper, President, C3
The data shows that kids and families are important for restaurants. Families with kids drive traffic, drive higher checks, and are really important to the bottom line."
KID FRIENDLY: 74% of parents says it’s VERY IMPORANT that the restaurants they take their families to are kid friendly.
EXPERIENCES: Today’s Millennial parents value positive family experiences.
#2 = ENTERTAINMENT
Families want fun experiences from restaurant brands
Parent keeps child’s preferences in mind
texasroadhouse Chicken Critters and Mac & Cheese >>>>>
Texas Roadhouse and SONIC Drive-In—two brands that have seen double digit sales growth in the last two years—shared how they create experiences
Both SONIC and Texas Roadhouse create fun experiences for families!
How Texas Roadhouse and SONIC provide experiences that help families build memories.
Insights from C3’s research and their experience with national brands show that millennial parents reward brands that give families fun experiences while also making their lives easier.
Parents really look at [restaurants] as an opportunity for bonding and to create memories.
SONIC’s drive-in concept. The concept is unique, appeals to busy families, and creates a natural oasis in guests’ cars, perfect for family bonding. Car hops on skates add to the fun.
Kids’ meals with variety. SONIC’s Wacky Pack kids’ meal delivers more variety than most other QSRs, making it stand out from the typical fast food experience.
Cool toys—and a way to talk about them to guests. SONIC partners with C3 to develop great toys as well as on-lot signage and animations which add to the anticipation and excitement of the Wacky Pack kids’ meal.
Technology to make parents’ lives easier. SONIC’s app makes it easy to order for the entire family on parents’ terms.
For Texas Roadhouse, creating positive family experiences is all about…
Unique entertainment: Family-friendly entertainment—like branded activity menus, branded toys, jukeboxes, line dancing, and fun events—is a big part of the Texas Roadhouse experience. Events are organized at the store level and are unique to each restaurant. Past events have included craft nights and pop-up drive-in movie theaters. Many locations do regular Kids’ Nights, which, as Beth Franklin from Texas Roadhouse explained, go beyond discounting: they’re about creating an experience for families. Many locations give kids Texas Roadhouse-branded toys during Kids’ Nights to make them even more special!
Kids’ meals fit for kids. Small portions for little kids and larger portions for bigger kids, lots of yummy sides, and unique and fun food names! Chicken critters anyone?
“Loud and proud” philosophy. Dining rooms are full of buzz and activity, making families feel welcome even when kids are boisterous.
Creating legendary experiences. From food to service to fun, the brand aims to create legendary experiences for all guests as part of their brand promise.
SONIC sees families as critical to its success. The brand creates fun experiences for families through…
Delivering on the basics: meeting kids’ & parents’ expectations
For casual dining restaurants (CDRs), parents expect what C3 calls the “CDR trifecta”:
Signaling kid-friendliness in CSR and QSR
C3’s research shows that parents have baseline expectations of kid-friendly restaurants. Both SONIC and Texas Roadhouse do an excellent job of delivering on the basics.
- Caroline Lerro, Vice President of Account Management, C3
Our designers, illustrators, product developers, industrial engineers can create almost anything, and they're fabulous at it. But it's not nearly as successful unless it has a really sound strategy to be built from.
Crayons. A budget-friendly creative tool.
Activity books. Provide entertaining waitbusters.
Kids’ cups. Just the right size cups with spill-proof lids.
For quick service restaurants (QSRs), parents expect:
Fun packaging. Signals to kids a meal is just for them.
Fun toys. These add to the fun and excitement of a QSR restaurant.
An example of SONIC delivering on expectations: Fun Toys (plush) and fun packaging, both featuring SONIC’s branded character set, Red Button & Friends.
These tactics have a modest per-kid cost but make a big impact on how kids and families experience the brand. C3 creates completely customized toys, meal bags, cups, activities menus and more.
The most successful kids’ programs are built on more than just creativity. They are built on strategy, extensive research about a brand, and based on what guests expect.
A kids' cup, an activy menu and crayons.
Texas Roadhouse’s kid-friendly CDR trifecta:
Being authentic to the brand is key to kids’ program success
How SONIC’s kids’ program reflects its parent brand:
SONIC and Texas Roadhouse excel at translating their brands to kids
A successful restaurant entertainment program is a reflection of the brand. That is how brands create emotional connections with kids, their future customers:
At the end of the day, the key to designing kids’ programs that authentically reflect the brand is to start with a strong strategic foundation. Understanding the brands’ overall values and priorities is key to translating brands to kids in fun ways, which is what C3 specializes in.
Toys: SONIC works with C3 to create toys that feature licenses that complement its brand: properties that are fun, energetic, unique and popular.
Kids’ Meal Branding: SONIC’s Wacky Pack kids’ meal branding includes fun characters that highlight SONIC’s unique food items and brand treasures, all the while translating the brands’ fun personality to kids.
We can all relate to brands we've grown up on, and how critical that is to the future of brands.
We are a fun brand! You see that from the variety of items we have [and] through unique toys and licenses and just the overall experience.
How Texas Roadhouse’s kids’ program reflects its brand:
Toys that add to the legendary experience: Texas Roadhouse is unique in the Casual Dining space for offering kids’ toys to its youngest customers. Not only do toys reflect the brand’s messaging and brand treasures, but they in and of themselves are one strategy that the brand uses to deliver on its promise of having the most fun atmospheres around.
Storytelling: Texas Roadhouse’s toys and activity menus celebrate the brand’s Texas roots, its focus on nature and sustainability, and its sense of legendary adventure and fun!
Example of SONIC licensed toys that complements its brand (Tokidoki, Batman and Angry Birds are pictured here)
Opportunities to go above and beyond for families
Opportunities for innovation include:
Innovative ideas from SONIC, Texas Roadhouse, and C3
Brands know how important it is to continue to innovate, and the family space is no different.
Improving the off-premises experience. Parents want seamlessness, ease and convenience and are embracing innovation and technology, including to-go options like curbside, delivery and apps for easier online orders (like SONIC’s ordering app). Especially for casual dining and fast casual brands, there’s an opportunity to improve the off-premises experience by helping the brand’s personality travel more seamlessly outside dining rooms with entertainment in the to-go bag.
Community-building through entertainment. A core value that resonates with parents is supporting brands that are a part of their local community. Texas Roadhouse prioritizes each restaurant’s community and emphasizes going outside the restaurant’s four walls to connect with each local community. Every restaurant has a marketing coach dedicated to local store marketing who understands the community’s needs and goes into the community to build relationships and to build the brand. Texas Roadhouse is innovative by giving out its custom toys, created by C3, to connect with kids at community events.
Authenticity and social impact. Increasingly, parents support brands that align with their values, and parents can easily detect insincerity. One way to deliver on authenticity is to support causes that align with your brand’s values. C3 has tactics that help brands bring consumers along in their social impact efforts.
Technology for play. As C3’s Caroline Lerro mentioned, one trend C3 is watching is “phygital play,” which combines the digital and physical. Whether it's a toy that comes from an app, or an app that interacts with something on the table, phygital brings together these two worlds.
- Beth Franklin, Manager, Digital Marketing, Texas Roadhouse
We give them [toys] out to schools, we give them out to charity events, police events, firefighter events . . . they give those toys to kids and now we essentially have a business card in someone’s home.
Custom toys developed by C3 for Texas Roadhouse using the brand’s characters, which are given out both in restaurants and at local community events.
Jennifer started her career at C3 back in 2006 as an account manager and has risen to her presidential role not only through her kind and unwavering leadership of the account management department, but also a talent bordering on super-powerful for building meaningful, lasting relationships with clients that truly see us as partners.
She has two sons in college and is known around the office for her fabulous style and necklace collection.
Director, Brand Marketing & Activation SONIC Drive-In
Grant leads the SONIC Brand Team which drives the strategic marketing planning process, cross-functional calendar/program development and works closely with key agency partners. In addition to this day to day, he also leads licensing efforts for the brand with the most recent success being the launch of SONIC Hard Seltzers at retail.
He brought his years 12 of QSR marketing experience with him when she joined the brand in 2018. Prior to joining SONIC and INSPIRE Brands, Grant spent time at both Bojangles’ and Whataburger restaurants where he led key initiatives to move both brands forward.
Manager, Digital Marketing, Texas Roadhouse
Beth started with Texas Roadhouse in 2014 and has advanced into the Digital Marketing Manager role. Her focus is on all things brand loyalty with Texas Roadhouse’s three restaurant brands and one online retail brand. She spends her days creating strategic plans to enhance brand reputation, implementing rewards and offer programs, and strengthening digital platforms for marketing at a local level. She took on management of the Texas Roadhouse Kids and Family program in early 2016 and has increased local store usage year over year. Beth has been married for 12 years and has two children ages 5 and 9 who she is avidly raising as Kentucky Wildcat fans.
VP of Collaborative Action Network, NMFQ
Mary Stober Murray has more than 15 years of experience in health equity, pharmaceutical development and management, with a particular focus on the diverse populations of people living with cancer and chronic diseases. In her current role at the non-profit National Minority Quality Forum, Mary leads collaborative efforts, such as the Diverse Cancer Communities Working Group. These efforts bring patient representatives together with industry and providers to share tools and co-create successful approaches for improving equity in care access, quality and outcomes for people living with chronic disease, such as lung cancer, asthma, heart failure and now coronavirus.
Vice President of Account Management, C3
Caroline leads the strategic development of client solutions with the account management team. She also spearheads our international production team, bringing to life each client’s custom ideas through innovative manufacturing. She brought her years of advertising and marketing agency experience with her when she joined C3 in 2016.
Prior to her tenure at C3, Caroline lived abroad for six years in Spain and Italy with her husband and two sons.
Watch the WEbinar
Join our live panel featuring marketers from two leading brands, SONIC Drive-In and Texas Roadhouse, as well as kids and family experts, C3, as they discuss how kid-friendly strategies enhance brands’ success.
How to Be
The Casual Dining
How to Be
The Fast Food
How to Keep Families Smiling, Wherever Your Brand Goes
Bring Your Consumers Along with Your Social Impact Efforts