Kids-friendly policy a drawcard
Hamilton's hospitality battleground is spreading to the suburbs with rival restaurant groups going child-friendly in a bid to draw in the crowds.
Chartwell restaurant Smith and McKenzie Chophouse is offering a free babysitting service for children on Mondays from 5pm to complement its $2 kids' menu on the same day, the money from which is donated to local schools and community groups.
The restaurant is part of the Phoenix Group, which owns a string of city bars and restaurants including rodeorodeo, CBD and House on Hood.
But a hospitality rival John Lawrenson, of the Lawrenson Group, which owns city bars Helm, Furnace and Easy Tiger, confirmed he has plans to "move into the suburbs" with a child-friendly restaurant in Rototuna.
The Phoenix Group's Nic Elliottyson, manager of Smith and McKenzie, said that as a parent it was a "no-brainer" to provide a child-friendly environment.
While parents dine downstairs their children can make their way upstairs and watch films, play computer games or colour in. "Kids can get a bit fidgety when they are out, particularly in a restaurant, so this is something that works well for everyone," he said. "We are always looking for stuff that keeps us ahead in the market."
Mr Lawrenson said he was looking at something similar to Smith and McKenzie but possibly offering the service for lunches on a Sunday.