‘I’m 7-years-old and I don’t like kids’ menus’

Burger and chips

Sausages, burgers, fish fingers, chicken nuggets… do you want chips with that? Josh, 7-years-old and son of a Which? member, is no fan of the food on kids’ menus. In this guest post, Josh puts forward an alternative.

Why do people always put the same things on the kids’ menus? Do they think we might not like it? The chef thinks the kids won’t like it – that kids aren’t like adults, that we can’t eat different food!

What’s wrong with lasagne, risotto, curry, noodles, pasta, rice, gammon, lamb chops, fish cakes or even Sunday lunch? We don’t want just burger and chips for every meal. We want different things.

Why’s it always the same?

At half term I went on holiday to Whitby. We went out for quite a few meals. We went to two pubs, a café, an Indian restaurant and the supermarket. Every time we went out for a meal, my mum and dad would look at the children’s menu and ask what I wanted. All it said on the menu was ‘stuff and chips’ – always the same.

In the end, I just ate a grown-ups portion, from the grown-up menu, because I thought that the kids’ meals were too small, and a bit boring. The only different place was the Indian restaurant, where I could choose anything from the menu (I had a chicken korma).

Last time we went to our local pub I had fish fingers and chips, and I was so hungry afterwards I had to have two puddings! I could have eaten a whole Sunday lunch afterwards! Kids meals are too small and too boring, and the same everywhere.

I want just one menu

The answer is for places to just offer just one menu, with lots of choice, but to let people choose the size of meal they want. So if my dad and I both wanted risotto, he could have a normal portion and I could have a smaller one. If he felt really hungry, maybe he could have a bigger portion. Some places do this but only if you ask. Why not just make this the normal thing that happens?

I do have some friends of my age who like to eat very boring food, so they like kids’ menus, but I think there will always be something from an adult menu that they could eat. Maybe they could even try something new!

Menus just for kids are boring. I would like to tell places not to be scared that children won’t like their food – be a bit more confident – be brave with the food they offer, and they might be surprised.

This is a guest post written by Josh Gillingham, 7-years-old, with help from his mum. All opinions are Josh’s own and not necessarily those of Which?. You can read more about how Josh got to write for us in his bio.

Comments
Member

Hello Josh and welcome to Which? Conversation.

I think you and your mum should be able to choose what you would like to eat and not just have to choose from the kids’ menu. Perhaps if you ask nicely you might find some places happy to help.

I have known older people ask for small portions because they don’t eat much and do not want to waste food.

Best of luck. 🙂

Member

Well said Josh.

I also think different portion sizes should be available on menus.

I sometimes meet friends for lunch when I only want a small meal. I hate wasting food so am usually stuck with ordering a starter which very rarely fills me up. Sometimes a side dish can supplement a starter but then the cost can be the same or more than a full size meal. I usually tell the food server I only want a small meal and ask their advice on what is suitable. Very often just get a shrug !!!

I only know of one pub that does smaller portions and it is a very popular place to eat.

Most restaurants will not let adults order from the children’s menu. I was in Pizza Express recently and they did let me order from the children’s menu when I told the waiter I was only after a small meal. But I would agree with Josh, it was a fairly boring choice even though it was probably better than most children’s menus.

Member

Good thinking Josh. Many adults would prefer smaller portions of real food, like kids. When we holiday in Dartmouth with our grandchildren there are some restaurants that will give smaller portions, or offer some meals as both starters or as main courses. Don’t expect to pay too much less for a smaller portion though, as much of the cost is in overheads rather than food.
Their mum has a good way of giving them meals they like at home; she gets them to cook recipes with her so they help make their own food. They will go through a recipe book and decide what to eat; rarely does any food get left.

Member

Well done Josh you are a great ambassador for your generation! Maybe when you grow up you will own your own restaurant and offer a much wider variety of choices for kids. As your name implies you already show great leadership qualities.

Member

I agree that child sized portions of main meals should be available, and think your point of children getting to try new foods is a very good one Josh. As a vegetarian I was rarely able to eat anything at all from the children’s menu in most restaurants and pub, and often had to choose my meal from the adults menu and leaving a lot on my plate (which contributed to my Dad’s expanding waistline as he polished off my leftovers). I grew up trying and liking a lot of ingredients that my childhood friends had never even heard of! The option of a smaller portion from the main menu would be a great way to educate children about other types of food, as well as encouraging them to go for healthier options minus the chips!

Member
John says:
12 March 2014

Many places do Senior Citizen portions for a reduced price which are the same as standard menu but smaller! Surely these could be made available to children.

The current choice on children’s menus does nothing to teach the children healthy eating or experience of different foods. When I go out to eat, I like to choose something that is not usually available at home and preferably without chips! The trouble is that people are eating for convenience, not for pleasure!

Member

When I was a kid, in the 60s, restaurants and cafes used to offer children’s portions of most menu items. The same but smaller.

Bring back children’s portions!

Member
Ray says:
12 March 2014

You make an extremely good point, even at fine dining restaurants and boutique hotels the menus are similar, I have been a waiter at and worked in hotels and restaurants all through the West End of London for many years and, Yes, the kids menu is always burgers or chicken & chips, or variations on the same theme. It had never occurred to me that the menu was the same everywhere because I wasn’t eating it, so good job for pointing that out.

I work in a boutique hotel and I am going to raise this with the GM (our Kid’s Menu: Chicken Fingers and Potato Wedges or Tomato Pasta with Cheese).