AUTHOR: TOM TANNER

Are you really treating your young guests? 

Last month saw chefs Mark Hix & Theo Randall calling for children’s food to grow up. It’s heartening to see. Far from being a treat, kid’s menus often fall far short of the adult offer. 

It comes as no surprise that 60% of parents say that children’s food available in restaurants isn’t good enough. Our investigation for the Out to Lunch campaign earlier this year showed many popular high street chains aren’t getting the basics right, from failing to offer kids cutlery and different portion sizes, to letting the usual suspects’ dominate the menu. 

With 40% of parents eating out with their children at least once a fortnight, restaurants have an opportunity, and arguably a responsibility, to serve up tasty, nutritious meals that get children and their families excited about good food and coming back for more. 

It’s true that kids aren’t always the easiest customers –  they can be tempted or turned off by a whole host of things – but the Out to Lunch campaign is calling on restaurants to rise to this challenge, starting by getting the basics right. 

Parents have told us their top three priorities when eating out with their children. Number one? A menu with a range of choices. Two – that food is cooked from scratch. And three – that they and their children are given a warm welcome. While there is no foolproof recipe for success, parents and public health experts alike agree that anywhere serving food to children should take these five simple steps in the right direction to meeting the needs of families: 

  • Offer all children the choice of a child’s portion of adult meals 
  • Serve up freshly-prepared food 
  • Offer the choice of water to all families on arrival 
  • Provide children’s cutlery as standard 
  • Make breastfeeding mums feel welcome 

If your establishment has already taken these steps we’d love to hear from you – we’ll be profiling those who are going the extra mile for their young guests online and in the media as the Out to Lunch campaign continuesGet in touch with me at [email protected] or 0117 987 4584. 

If you’d like more advice on how your establishment can improve the food and service you offer to children check out our restaurant toolkit or get in touch with me directly