Catering to Your Niche Customers: Moms, Dads, Nannies

From the beginning of marketing time, the mom has been the target demographic for almost everything. As the center point for domesticity and the family, she was the shopper for the household and its members–imagine Donna Reed spending Mr. Reed’s (he didn’t have a first name, and if he did, does anyone really care?) money on appliances, groceries, and clothing.

The white, stay-at-home-mom was also the one who oversaw the children pretty much 24/7 if movies and television are to be believed. This meant she decided where they would go if they went out to lunch on a shopping day, for instance: maybe the coffee shop with the delicious sandwiches! Did they have coffee shops in black and white times?

These days, the person in charge of the children could be anyone; but, their needs and desires are just as important and Donna and her disciples. Moms, Dads, Nannies or whoever is caring for the children, have specifications that you can meet to attract them to your space. I know for a fact that nannies, especially in metropolitan areas, travel in groups; when you work with a stranger’s kids all day–especially if they aren’t at the speaking age yet–you need some adult time. If on a Saturday, Mom or Dad need to run errands, they need a reason to enter and stay at your coffee shop for their lunch, caffeinated or general rest break.

First things first: you need a space for strollers. Preferably the toddler-toters will fold their strollers neatly for more optimal storage; but, this is wishful thinking. Many modern strollers don’t fold and many people on an outing with one or more children for the day have too many bags and things in hidden stroller compartments to feasibly fold it. If you can designate a good-sized space for strollers, that is the first sign that people with children are welcome. You can also consider investing in bike locks so you can offer patrons the option of chaining their strollers outdoors if the weather permits, or if you have a covered space somewhere. You could also post a sign or have your employees inform patrons that their strollers can be moved into a storage space in the back or downstairs if you have such an option. This lets them know that you aren’t inconvenienced by their presence, making them feel welcome, and it gives them the added convenience as well.

You could also provide high-chairs for smaller children as they do at restaurants–booster seats as well. These small moves let the adults-in-charge know that you’re trying to make their lives as easy as possible–and that you want them there!

Communal tables, again, are great for this niche market, because people caring for children often travel with multiple children (as the pluralization implies); this is especially true of parents having an adult playdate of sorts, hoping to catch up over lattes while their children catch up under the table (or something). Communal tables are also excellent for young children who aren’t quite familiar with sitting still or staying inside their personal bubbles; they also allow for activities such as coloring or board games which will most definitely be employed to keep them from disrupting your loyal customers.

Another tip in that vein, then, is to provide board games, coloring books/pages, and books yourself. The best coffee shops I patronize have some or all of these options. I’ve even utilized board games with my adult friends. If you stock books, you’ll want ones appropriate for a variety of ages; you could also feature a special where people can get a free beverage for a book or board game donation!

To accommodate people with children, you’ll also want to ensure that you have plenty of options on your menu for children. This includes not only juices, chocolate milk and other non-caffeinated beverages, but also kid sizes to anything and everything. This is a small way to take the stress from baby-wranglers, by allowing them to get their children a treat without having to pay adult prices for something that the child will probably only end up drinking half. You can also include menu items with kid-friendly titles or something like animal-shaped cookies; you know, there’s also the staple PB&J or grilled cheese if you offer meal options.

You could also consider offering events tailored to these niche customers, like parenting classes or kids craft times.

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14 Comments

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  1. This article definitely speaks to me. As a young mom, I’m always looking for places to take my little girl that won’t be too adult for her. There is nothing worse than feeling like you should’ve left your kids at home with a sitter rather than take them for an outing. I love finding places that are just kid-friendly enough that taking my child doesn’t feel like an inconvenience to the other customers, but that I could still go to with a small group of adult friends. I would definitely agree that kid-based entertainment is also useful when attracting that audience. A coffee shop in my town just started doing a kids’ night where kids under 12 ate free, and they got quite a lot of positive feedback from that. They also implemented games kept at each table that even my fiancé and I enjoy. As the article stated, the easier you make the caregivers’ lives, the more appreciative and likely to come back they will be.

  2. Definitely a kid friendly menu is a must. Perhaps a variety of ice creams will do. Though, I know pastries are the food that is frequently being ordered for kids. Only a few coffee shops I know offers meal for kids. Will share this article and hopefully that many business owners take this article as a great idea for their business growth.

  3. Excellent suggestions. I love taking my 5 year-old daughter to our local coffee shop. She immediately grabs a deck of cards or the checkers board when we sit down. They sell pastries, hot chocolate, and homemade ice cream, which are all kid-friendly items.

  4. I know very few coffee shops provide menus for kids… Children want to go where they can get yummy dishes as well as an attractive environment… I appreciate efforts of coffee shops who cater their services to every age group, and thanks a lot for such an interesting blog!

  5. I’m so glad businesses finally started realizing the importance of catering to families. Many parents feel trapped in their homes, since they are unable to go out with their kids because businesses rarely provided what was needed for the presence of babies and small kids, and leaving the kids alone at home-well, its not an acceptable option.
    I can’t imagine myself not being able to go out and have a cup of coffee in my favorite coffee shop when I have kids.
    I know it can be costly for some businesses to provide everything, but its greatly appreciated by families. So, kudos to every shop catering for families.

  6. A lot of places that are for children don’t care about the adults. and a lot of places for adults don’t care about kids!
    I hope they know that it’s about families enjoying their time together.
    I enjoyed reading this article, thanks 😀

  7. Catering to Moms, Dads, Nannies can be a very good idea to boost revenues, In fact, a lot of moms and dads love to go and relax in a coffee shop that’s why coffee shops owners’ should pay more attention to their needs like kids zone and drinks for children and also the decor will help.

  8. This is a great idea, coffee shops should try to cater to every age group at least once in a while, If not always. Thinking out of the box is something that would bring them a lot of new customers and help spread the word about their business.

  9. I think having really friendly staff is the key to get this niche down! A cafe I frequent often has children go have brunch with their parents because they’re just really welcome there! A lot of kids are chatty, so baristas that can keep a conversation with a toddler are a must if you ask me. One kid even told a barista “I want to work here when I’m eighteen!” Doesn’t that seem successful to you?

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