November 04, 2023

Beyond Work and Into Play: Creating Unforgettable Family-Friendly Restaurant Staff Celebrations

Restaurants are popular spaces for celebration. It’s really important to make certain your staff aren’t only serving other people’s celebratory needs, though. By regularly taking time to recognize and appreciate the dedication they’ve shown to your business, you’re likely to cultivate a more engaged and loyal talent base

Take this a little further, though. Don’t forget your employees have loved ones who support them throughout their time with your business. Yes, inviting families to workplace celebrations is a good start. Actively building family-friendly events is even better. This shows your company’s commitment to an overall family-friendly working culture that impacts retention and productivity

So how can you create unforgettable family-friendly staff celebrations for your restaurant? We’re going to look at a few key considerations to get you started.

Dine-In or Head Out

One of the considerations for your staff celebrations is the venue. There’s definitely something convenient about hosting these in your restaurant during days you’re usually closed. However, it’s worth looking at how appropriate it is before making a decision.

Firstly, consider how all-ages-friendly your venue is. For your staff and their families to truly have an unforgettable time, you may need to look at whether there’s space for kids to run around and have fun. For that matter, is there space for your adult guests to dance, play games, and enjoy other interactive activities? This doesn’t rule out your restaurant as a venue, but you may need to make some temporary adjustments. 

There’s also the fact that your restaurant represents your staff’s workplace. You want them to feel comfortable and positive in their working environment. Nevertheless, ask yourself whether your staff want to spend their leisure time in the same environment in which they’ve spent long hours working. The answer may well be that they do and that their positive associations with your business can boost an unforgettable celebration. But it’s worth reaching out to your staff and asking their thoughts about this. 

If you want to head out of your restaurant, this doesn’t mean you have to take your celebration to a competitor. Look at the possibility of hosting a picnic with a fun food theme either in your restaurant’s outdoor space or at a local park. This can be a cost-effective and family-friendly approach. After all, there’s fresh air and lots of space for kids and adults alike to cut loose.

Encourage Bonding Experiences

Appreciation events can motivate your employees simply by providing them with a break from the grind. They can also be great opportunities for everyone to strengthen their bonds. This is why it’s so important to design your events to have experiences that really bring everyone closer together outside their usual work roles. Your efforts can go beyond your immediate employees and boost their family enrichment. With a little extra forethought, your family-friendly celebrations can promote their children's development through socialization.

Some of the ways you can do this include:

  • Physical activities: Incorporating physical activities into your restaurant’s celebrations can add some energy to the occasion. Importantly, when everyone is engaged in fun — such as sports or games — they can have positive associations with spending time together. If your restaurant or venue has no space for sports, you could host other physical activities, like scavenger hunts.
  • Interactive activities: Some of the most impactful tools for bonding are those that rely on interactions and collaborations. These allow staff to see new sides of one another’s skills and personalities. They also get to know their respective family members a little better. You could have trivia games or creative projects during your celebrations.

There’s definitely something to be said for how these bonding experiences can boost staff unity in your restaurant. They may well affect turnover and help staff to work together more effectively. Above all else, it can be a demonstration of how keen your business is to craft a truly family-friendly atmosphere by bringing everyone closer together.

Make Celebrations Accessible

Staff celebrations shouldn’t just be positive for most of your staff and their families. You want to make them unforgettable for everyone. Therefore, you need to make certain nobody feels excluded from the occasion. The best approach to this is to ensure high accessibility standards. 

Some of the elements you could consider here include:

Going alcohol-free

Alcohol is often linked to celebrations. Yet, some of your staff may be facing the challenges of alcoholism, which may be more difficult when there’s alcohol at a celebration. Alcohol has a range of negative health impacts, too. Excessive consumption can affect the digestive system and there are correlations to heart conditions. Its depressive effect on the central nervous system (CNS) can trigger mood swings. Therefore, having an alcohol-free event will make it more accessible, healthier, and ultimately more family-friendly.

Adapting the space and menu

If some of your staff or their family members struggle to navigate the celebration space, it’s likely to be unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. Whether you’re hosting at your restaurant or elsewhere, arrange the furniture to support easy and safe mobility. This includes space for those using wheelchairs, have vision challenges, or simply have young family members. It’s also wise to allocate a quiet “decompress” zone for people with neurodivergent traits who might get overwhelmed by crowds and other stimuli.

Remember that some of your staff and their families may face accessibility challenges you aren’t aware of. It’s important to maintain a good baseline of inclusivity. For example, consider offering foods that are safe for individuals with diabetes to eat, such as greens, root vegetables, and whole grains. Invite staff to privately come to you with concerns they have, such as food allergies, so you can make certain everyone has a great time.


Creating an unforgettable family-friendly staff celebration can positively impact your restaurant’s success. It’s important to take mindful steps, like identifying the most appropriate venue, encouraging bonding, and bolstering accessibility. Beyond the occasional event, though, you’ll also need to look at other ways to celebrate your workers and their families.

Commit to celebrations being a part of a more comprehensive appreciation program. Collaborate with your staff in understanding what could keep them meaningfully connected to your business and devise practical solutions. 

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