A family meal can provide a great outlet for a bit of respite from the pressures of parenthood, work and daily worries such as bills and keeping our finances in check. When out for a family meal, you can relax without having to worry about preparing a meal and cooking a meal for all the family, and your meal will be brought to your table rather than you putting a meal on the table in front of everyone. It is pure relaxation – and you can even have a little drink while you’re at it!
However, when choosing a venue for your family meal you do need to think about the basics especially if you are going with children. With children, they may need to be entertained so you could ring the venue (restaurant/pub) beforehand and ask if they have any options to entertain the children such as colouring books, crayons or toys. You could also ask if they have an outdoor area where your kids could go to play, but make sure the outdoor area is secure and restricted, preventing any trespassers. It’s a possibility that the venue will confirm all of these, and tell you that they use SHS products in their outdoor area.
When going for a family meal with elderly relatives or with friends who have disabilities, it is vital that the venue will cater for them. For example, if you are going to a restaurant and the main seating area is upstairs you could ask if the venue has a lift as well as stairs to provide access to your elderly relatives. Or, if going with someone who has a disability and has to use a wheelchair, for example, you could ask if there is sufficient access for wheelchair users.
If you don’t ask necessary, but simple, questions when booking a table it could end up that your meal may be ruined as there could be no entertainment for children and no access for elderly people or disabled people.
It is also important to have a look at the menu before you arrive at the venue. If you are going with people who are fussy eaters, then there is no point booking into a gourmet Japanese restaurant, for example, or if you are going with people who – for the majority – are vegetarian or vegan then it would be a pointless act to book somewhere which solely serves meat, like a grill restaurant or a BBQ restaurant.
Meals can provide a good quality time for you and your family to connect with each other, catch up, and generally relax in each other’s company. However, it is essential you do some research on where to go before booking a table as – even though it seems obvious and simple – if you do not make sure everyone will be catered for, your family time over a meal could be a disappointment and could lead to you feeling stressed, anxious and even a bit embarrassed that not everyone enjoyed their meal as much as you had hoped.