How to Make Zoo Concessions Appeal to Families
Providing the Right Zoo Concessions for Family Visitors
While zoos bring in a variety of visitors, the one type of customer you can always count on is families. Whether it’s a special outing on a Saturday or a semi-regular weekday trip for members, you’ll see moms, dads, and kids exploring the animal exhibits for hours – and of course working up an appetite. How do you tailor your zoo concessions menu to make it appealing to all family members? We’ve got some suggestions for you to try.
- Keep a focus on health for parents. This is especially important if your zoo allows guests to bring in outside food, as you’ll need to compete with picnics parents can pack at home. For lunch and dinner at the zoo, you’ll want to include filling meals for finicky eaters, such as pizza and fish sticks, but also offer salads, light sandwiches, tacos, wraps, and fresh fruits. The adults will appreciate these choices for themselves and also as some possibilities to feed their kids.
- Be creative for the kids. As much as moms might wish they could keep the kids happy with a salad, in reality they know better. Supplement your meal options with fun treats kids love. Include concession staples like snow cones, funnel cakes, and hot dogs, and get creative with product names. Use well-known, beloved animals at your zoo to help name foods. For example, in Cincinnati, you could sell Fiona’s Favorite Funnel Cakes, named after the famous baby hippo, or Kendi’s Candy Apples, named after the baby rhino. Make plain items colorful and eye-catching, like using Glaze Pop® for bright, flavorful gourmet popcorn.
- Find a balance between meals and snacks. Space your concessions accordingly so that full meals and snack stands are within easy walking distance no matter where families may be within the zoo. Both parents and children will like having the variety nearby when low blood sugar strikes or they’ve lost track of time and it’s suddenly mealtime.
- Consider changing your menu with the time of day. We most often think of zoo concessions in terms of lunch, dinner, and snacks, but don’t forget about families who arrive when the zoo opens in the morning. Until noon or so, think about selling bagels, egg sandwiches, and waffles for patrons who didn’t have time for breakfast.
- Sell non-sugary drinks. A zoo visit is usually a long day, and everyone needs to stay hydrated. After caving in to kids’ desires for sugary snacks and carb-loaded meals, parents need healthy drink options for their family. While slush drinks, soda, and other tasty beverages should certainly be on your menu boards, make sure you’re also providing bottled water and milk or sugar-free juices.
These tips will help you offer a solution to cranky hungry kids and a relief to parents. Focus on the novelty and fun of the zoo, while fulfilling nutritional needs, and patrons will keep coming back for more.