The purchasing power of families with children often doesn't get the attention it deserves, because families with children are now a minority of all households at only 31%. However, in many expenditure categories, families with children far outspend other types of households. One of those areas is restaurant spending. Families with children account for 37% of all lunch and dinner restaurant expenditures. In the quick-service, buffet, take-out and delivery category only, they account for 43% of all lunch and dinner expenditures. That is a large market, over $28 billion in restaurant sales. It's no wonder so many restaurant chains are now recognizing the importance of the family-with-children market and are developing menus and programs to attract this important market segment. Years ago, some major players in the quick-service segment, such as McDonald's and Burger King, recognized the significance of this market to their success by making major investments in play facilities and creating kids' meals.
With the exception of Chuck E. Cheese's, Bullwinkle's Restaurant and Family Fun Centers and a few independent FECs, the LBE industry has been slow to comprehend the significant size of the family restaurant market and its potential in generating high repeat attendance by making LBEs restaurant destinations -- rather than just places to grab a snack.