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3 ways to enhance family dining through TV

television remote

The dining experience, as most operators know, is about more than the food.

Service, seating, lighting and even TV and music options all play important parts in a customer’s overall impression of a restaurant.

In fact, 73% of consumers consider dining out a form of entertainment, according to custom research for DIRECTV conducted by Technomic. Watching TV while dining, whether it’s the big game or news or an entertainment program, can be an extension of that entertainment experience.

When consumers watch TV in a family-dining establishment, for example, they’re doing so with their kids 34% of the time, the Technomic research found. At a fast-food restaurant, 32% of consumers watch TV with children under 18. And at fast-casual and casual-dining restaurants, those numbers are 28% and 26%, respectively.

Ask any parent: Keeping the little ones entertained for a bit can certainly make for a more-pleasant dining experience. And, when parents are happy and un-stressed, they just might stick around for another round of drinks or dessert.

So, how can operators make the TV-viewing experience relevant for families?

Kids programming

Play up the kids’ programming, for one. Especially during peak family times, consider running cartoons or kid-friendly movies. Enhance the experience with tie-ins on the children’s menu, either with special food items, coloring sheets or branded cups. Some 39% of consumers say kids’ programming enhances their social occasions in restaurants when they’re dining with children under 18, the Technomic research found.


Sports programming has near-universal appeal. While most grown-ups might opt to tune out the cartoons, many of them would join in watching a sporting event with their kids. Some 11% of consumers say sports programming enhances their social occasions in restaurants when dining with children, according to the data. If it’s an especially big game, pass out appropriately colored pompoms or pennants so even the littlest cheerleaders can get in on the action. And be sure to offer food and drink specials to draw in value-minded families.


Sometimes you need to consider slightly unconventional programming to boost TV’s appeal for families while dining out. Look into streaming family-friendly trivia competitions through the TV. Or, to engage older kids and tweens, think about offering games that can be linked to smartphone or on-table tablets or other devices. Some 10% of consumers say entertainment TV would enhance restaurant social occasions with kids and another 6% say the same about high-tech games, Technomic’s research found.

Stop looking at TV as merely background noise in your operation. Families who dine out say that TV can be a welcome way to add to their entertainment experience in your establishment.

This post is sponsored by DIRECTV for BUSINESS℠

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