11 Dec 3 Tips to Make Your Restaurant More Pet Friendly
3 Tips to Make Your Restaurant More Pet Friendly
By Michelle Maskaly
When I talk with pet owners about pet-friendly businesses and where they enjoy bringing their pet with them the most, restaurants are usually towards the top of the list.
Many pet owners completely understand that because of health codes they cannot bring their dog inside most restaurants. But, they do want the option to dine outside with their dog. This is especially important in resort towns, where people are taking their four-legged friends on vacation with them.
Making your restaurant a little more pet-friendly, can make all the difference between them enjoying breakfast, lunch or dinner with you instead of someplace else.
Here are three easy ways to make your restaurant more pet friendly:
A small investment in a few dozen stainless steel water bowls can pay off big time. When training your servers, make sure they know that when they bring water to the table for your two-legged customers, they should also bring it for your four-legged customers.
Stainless steel is a good option because they tend to not be very expensive, they are durable and can be washed easily. If you want something a little fancier, reach out to a pet bowl manufacturer whose designs you like, and buy them wholesale.
Educated Restaurant Staff
Make pet-friendly training part of your education process. Just like your staff is clear on your smoking policy, they should be clear about your pet policy. In addition, teach them the proper ways to approach a dog. They don’t have to be Cesar Millan, but they should have some basic dog knowledge. For example, asking the owner if it’s okay before immediately reaching down to pet a four-legged guest. This training should be for your whole staff – everyone from your chef and managers to your servers and hosts.
It can also help to have dedicated pet-friendly servers, or at least make sure the servers who are dealing with customers who are dining with their pets, are not afraid of dogs.
You don’t have to take out a special ad saying that your restaurant is pet-friendly (although I do think that could be beneficial), but begin to include it on the advertising you are already doing. Also, put that you are pet-friendly somewhere on your menu and put a sign on the door just like you would a Yelp sticker. You never know how many of your customers have a dog, and would like to bring them next time. Just a simple line that reads something like, “Well behaved dogs welcome on our outdoor patio,” can make all the difference in attracting new customers.
The idea is to make it easier for dog owners to know that your restaurant is a place they can enjoy a meal with their four-legged friend without feeling unwanted. Especially in a place where there are many restaurant choices within the same or a few blocks, it can be intimidating, and time consuming, to walk up to a half-dozen restaurants just to ask if they are pet-friendly.
Michelle Maskaly is a pet-friendly business consultant who specializes in helping businesses of all sizes tap into the pet-friendly market. She has extensive pet industry experience, including serving as the former editor-in-chief of the multimedia trade publication Pet Age.