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Leicester City have climbed to the top of the table. No, not the kind of table that we're used to talking about here at Trent Furniture, this time it’s the Premier League table. Leicester City have won the title!

Our furniture store is based in Leicester and it’s fair to say that at least half of our staff are long-term Leicester City supporters. As the season has progressed the number of supporters has grown dramatically. It’s extraordinary to see your local club pick up one of the biggest football trophies in the world and Trent Furniture pass on our congratulations on to everybody associated with the football club.

In what has been a successful year for Trent Furniture too, we’ve decided to match items from our furniture range with key members of the Leicester City team by our way of homage to the team and their amazing achievement this season.

Wes Morgan

Solid performances this season from the captain fantastic have given Leicester a sturdy platform from the back to build on. Known for his no-nonsense defending, he gets the job done consistently without stealing the limelight.

Our Tall Captains bar stool not only resembles our captain in name, but also in its characteristics. Strong, sturdy and durable, this stool can be part of team of four to provide a solid defence propped up against your bar. Capable of performing under the biggest of pressures, the stools survive the wear and tear that comes with customers’ – or in Morgan’s case the opposition’s – knocks and pulls.

Riyad Mahrez

Picked up on a low price by Leicester, Mahrez was brought for just £450,000 by Leicester in 2014. He has been a star buy for the team and has provided great value – even picking up the 2016 PFA player of the year.

Our Ascot staking chairs are a hugely popular stock item and at a low price offer just as good an investment. The chairs can be used at conferences, presentations, weddings, parties and seminars - offering the same versatility in positioning as the Algerian.

Jamie Vardy

Vardy is Leicester’s top goal scorer this season and he is capable of providing show-stopping performances. He can lead the line on his own and is known for his speed and high-energy levels.

The Chesterfield sofa is an ideal retreat after a tiring shift on the pitch and fits in perfectly in a pub (the best place for a Vardy party). With upholstered arms and unique detail, this sofa has a luxurious finish which is good enough to match that of striker’s goal-scoring finishing.

Available as a two or three seater there’s also plenty of room for the other strikers Okazaki and Ulloa.

Claudio Ranieri

It isn’t possible to describe Ranieri in just one piece of furniture. The manager knows how to make the most out of a team on a budget, he has evolved this team into one which is now elite. And the same can be said for organising an event - you can still create a champion event without all the money.

Our budget range means you don’t have to put up with inferior furniture. Despite the price, the products are high quality and can provide great results.

Over the years we have supplied furniture for a number of football teams including Manchester United, West Ham United and Portsmouth. But we’re currently waiting for a call from the Leicester City Chair-man asking to use our furniture that is fit for champions.

The good news is that many of our chairs are available in blue and white so meaning they will fit in a treat at the Leicester City conference facilities or even the boss’s office. It’s certainly one summer buying decision that they won’t regret. 

In most parts of mainland Europe, there is really no such thing as a “family-friendly restaurant”; they just call them “restaurants”. In France, Spain, Italy and other countries, eating out with children is perfectly normal. Tables will be rearranged to accommodate families without a second thought. Waiters will be kind and patient with their younger customers. There might be space outside for little ones to run around. Other customers will not be fazed by the presence of small children. Food will come in smaller portions. There will be no tut-tutting. The children themselves will be well-behaved; for them, going out to eat is perfectly normal.

Here in the UK we have, historically, had a different attitude. A survey in 2011 found that one in three young mothers reported being turned away from restaurants simply because they had a baby or a small child with them. But attitudes are changing: after decades in the dark ages, it seems that we are finally coming round to the idea that going out for a meal with the family, including young children, can be a relaxed and enjoyable experience, rather than something to be anxiously endured, surrounded by disapproving glares from other diners and impatient huffing from staff. Restaurants and cafés are finally coming round to the idea that children are not just something to be tolerated, but should be actively encouraged. In short, family-friendly dining is a growing business.

In the catering trade, family dining tends to come under the heading “casual” dining – ie, the kind of informal dining offered by chains such as Pizza Express, Nandos and suchlike. This sector of the market is growing rapidly so it makes good business sense to ensure that your restaurant or café is more attractive to families. Here’s how.

Be friendly

Let’s begin at the beginning:  with your staff. The catering trade employs many young people, especially in customer-facing roles such as waiting and reception, and it’s likely that many of them will not have children of their own. So they may need some gentle reminders, or even training, in the importance of treating families with children as welcome guests. They may need to be reminded that if you talk directly to children you’ll get a good response. Smile. Be helpful and accommodating.

Be flexible

As a customer, there’s nothing more off putting than the feeling that you’re a nuisance, or that you are being squeezed into an awkward space in the corner out of the way of other diners. But a restaurant or café that’s properly geared up for families will be truly flexible: it will have furniture that can be rearranged, tables that can be shunted together, as well as high chairs, cushions, booster chairs, and larger tables for families to sit around. If you’re prepared to be flexible, your guests will appreciate it.

Feeding and changing

Then there’s the delicate business of breastfeeding. There have been infamous cases of restaurants and cafés turning breastfeeding mothers away, or asking them to go somewhere more private, and these cases have caused great offence: breastfeeding is normal and natural, so mothers who wish to do so should feel totally comfortable. Alternatively, if a mother is bottle-feeding a baby, you could offer to warm up the bottle in your kitchen.

Nappy-changing facilities are, of course, essential. Parents are sharing more responsibility for every aspect of childcare so it’s important to offer these facilities in both the men’s and women’s lavatories.

Be fast

Small children will often arrive at a restaurant feeling hungry and thirsty. They might not be used to waiting long for their food to arrive. They might be restless or fractious. Your service should be prompt: make sure everyone on the table is offered drinks as soon as they have been seated. And serve them as quickly as possible. Parents will also appreciate a menu that offers fruit juices and smoothies alongside the fizzy stuff.

The same goes for food: without hurrying things along, or making your customers feel rushed, you can keep your smaller diners happy by getting food on the table quickly, even if it’s just something small such as crunchy raw carrots and baby tomatoes with dips, or breadsticks, to keep the proverbial wolf from the door.

Be entertaining

Another way to keep your young customers amused is by ensuring that they have something to keep them occupied. The colouring-in book is of course a familiar part of children’s dining. But there are also paper tablecloths available which can be coloured in, and disposed of afterwards; a popular brand is Eggnog. These are not cheap, but you could give customers the option and add a small surcharge to the bill. Children will love being able to do something which is normally absolutely forbidden: drawing on the tablecloth!

Toys, too, can help: you could keep a stock of small toy cars and Barbie dolls, puzzles, and even Lego or Duplo, as well as books and comics. Toy cars and dolls could be displayed on shelves; they’ll look attractive, and children can be encouraged to go over to the shelves to choose what they want to borrow during the meal. If you have space, you could create a special kids’ corner with child-sized furniture and beanbags. If you have an outside area or a garden, slides and seesaws will create a children’s area, while picnic benches will enable parents to sit and keep an eye on their offspring. Some child-friendly restaurants will hire in magicians at weekends to go from table to table doing their magic tricks; a publicity campaign could make this part of your family-friendly package. Face-painting, too, is usually a hit with children.

Free Wi-Fi is always a great option with many young people having their own tablet devices and games that need the internet.

Now for the main attraction, the food, and this one can sometimes get a bit tricky. Food can cause a great deal of conflict between adults and children: the youngsters are often picky and afraid of new foods, while the parents might be reluctant to fob them off with chicken nuggets and fish fingers. So you might offer smaller versions of the dishes on your main menu, as well as children’s specials. Children might find the arrival of a large plate of unfamiliar food daunting and off-putting, so keep portions modest.

Get creative with your ideas; many people eat out to try something they might not get at home. Something simple yet out of the ordinary encourages kids to try something new and expands what they are willing to try. Children like things such as; small colourful plates of food that they can pick at, sliced veggies, smaller burgers or pasta dishes. Chunky potato wedges are usually a big hit. A “children’s platter” would go down well with many families: an assortment of small items served attractively. Remember that children can be vegetarians, too, and will appreciate a range of options to suit them.

Desserts are clearly a big deal for children, but again, parents might appreciate some fresh fruit alongside the ice creams and brownies that will be staples in any family-friendly restaurant.

Taking inspiration from restaurants who already offer similar services is a good way to get an idea of the things that you could and should be offering. Popular family-friendly chains such as Giraffe offer a good children’s menu, also Jamie Oliver’s restaurants, Jamie’s Italian, offer a children’s menu that offer both children, as well as adults, a great and varied menu, just to name a few.  

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