Jamie Oliver

forum: Jamie's Food Revolution

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#11 Tue 02 Nov 10 11:32am

RaphaelleB

Member
Occupation Independent Graphic designer/waitress
From Edinburgh
Member since Thu 28 Oct 10

Re: Kids menus in Restaurants

Where I work we don't get a lot of Children. So usually the stock is very small: a bag of frozen chicken nuggets and a bag frozen scampi. The thing is we do sell some fresh chicken and fresh scampi! So it won't be hard to stop buy processed nuggets and replace it by some fresh chicken.
Sometimes we don't have the nuggets, and the kitchen give a small plate of chicken, and the kids never said a word! Nor the parents!
Actually I've got more and more parents asking for half fries/ half salad for their kids.
It is possible to have a nice children menu with fresh food!
We already have some nice: oinon soup, garlic bread, crepes all made from scratch! And they are all very popular!
I do have adventurous kids as well trying the snails and stuff! (yeah I work in a French restaurant!)
Having a good time around some good tasty food is a really delight. And I'm sure we can please everyone!
yummy
So cheer up people the food revolution is not about eating raw vegetable all day long! It's about knowing exactly what's in your plate!
Bon appetit!

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#12 Tue 02 Nov 10 2:50pm

slbeckett

Member
From Ontario, Canada
Member since Wed 12 Mar 08

Re: Kids menus in Restaurants

Roch-Maurice wrote:

You can put what you want on a kids menu, but they are not likely to order it. Then you will get stuck with dead stock.  Most parents don't want to spend their restaurant experience fighting with their kids over eating veg.  I know its not right, but more often than not, it is so.  Sorry to sound so pesimistic, but I've been at this for quite a while and have tried just about everything.  Kids want something they can't get at home, which leads them to the deep fryer.  Restaurants are "treat time" so usually they order something fried.  The current kids menu at my kitchen has pasta with tomato sauce, sandwhiches(grilled and plain), salads, cold plate (with raw veg, boiled egg, black forest ham, bread, apple slices).  And......chicken fingers with fries.  Guess what our biggest seller is??  Pass the ketchup...If we don't offer it, they will likely go someplace else.  It's the parents who have to be responsible.

Boiled egg and a piece of ham? I wouldn't order that either, but there must certainly be a middle ground. My 8 year old orders off the regular menu because she's sick of cheese pizza or a mini hamburger. There is nothing more frustrating than going to a nice restaurant, having the kids excited about going out for dinner, and then showing them the absolute crap they have to choose from.  We'd rather spend the extra $10/plate and show them that they are worthy of real food even if they are just kids.

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#13 Tue 02 Nov 10 3:15pm

Roch-Maurice

Member
Occupation Kitchen Manager/Drummer
From Eastern Ontario, Canada
Member since Thu 14 Oct 10

Re: Kids menus in Restaurants

If you say it like that it doesn't sound appetizing lol, I admit.  There is a lot more going on on that dish.  Basically, it is a cold plate, with an assortment of items.  And it does sell, more than others on the menu.

I've never disagreed here about the importance of healthier choices, but, depending on the region,  I don't see a lot of them being popular enough to make it worthwhile for an eatery to stock, and maintain the ingredients neccessary and still keep the dish fresh and at a reasonable price.  I don't see that it is the restaurants responsibility.  It is a buisness afterall, and the return has to be worth the time and money invested in offering any product. Typical kids menus have evolved to what they are today as a result of what sells. Which means, "what parents are ordering for their kids".  They are filling a "demand".   As slbeckett said, there are more items available on the general menu so everybody is free to order whatever they want.  As a kitchen manager, I'm not going to take a financial loss indefinitely, by offering what I percieve a smart choices, only to have the products lose quality and eventually get thrown out because of lack of intrest. Not all restaurants cater to kids.  During the week, I may go a couple of days without seeing one child in for something to eat.   
We, as foodies, think about ingredients and nutrition every day. I think we are in the minority, to be honest with you.
Personally, we rarely eat anythig fried or proccessed in our house, and most meals are whole, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats,    so if my daughter wants to eat something fried or high in sodium or fat once a month, then I say go ahead.  Everything in moderation, and like I said, these are private enterprises so they can offer what they want, and we can decide if we want to go in there or not.
There are lot of great ideas and wonderful dishes, but in all reality, no matter how convinced you are, you won't get the majority of kids to be interested.

Last edited by Roch-Maurice (Tue 02 Nov 10 3:33pm)

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#14 Tue 02 Nov 10 3:45pm

slbeckett

Member
From Ontario, Canada
Member since Wed 12 Mar 08

Re: Kids menus in Restaurants

Here's the thing. I completely understand that you wouldn't want to lose money on items no one will order. Why would you? But why is it necessary? Why can't a kids menu have kid-sized portions of regular menu items? I should think that would benefit your kitchen staff and your budget.

Appetizers and side orders can so easily be adapted to make kids meals: Chicken satay = Chicken on a stick with sauce on the side, Hot wings = barbeque chicken wings, quesadillas with or without chicken...

Mains can be made smaller: half size of lasagna, small bowl of plain pasta with sauce on the side, meatballs with mashed potatoes and peas...I don`t know what kind of restaurant you manage but there have to be easy options that won`t impact your budget.

I know I`m venting a bit here, and you know your job better then I,  but restaurants have to give parents a fighting chance by providing some appetizing options to offer against the chicken fingers. As a parent in Ontario, I am hugely influenced my the quality of the kids menu when choosing where to eat out, and I`m not the only one. I don`t need a restaurant to cater to my children - I just need some reasonable, non-processed options and I will take care of the rest.

Best of luck with your restaurant Roch-Maurice; I hope it does really well.

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#15 Tue 02 Nov 10 3:55pm

Roch-Maurice

Member
Occupation Kitchen Manager/Drummer
From Eastern Ontario, Canada
Member since Thu 14 Oct 10

Re: Kids menus in Restaurants

slbeckett wrote:

Here's
Appetizers and side orders can so easily be adapted to make kids meals: Chicken satay = Chicken on a stick with sauce on the side, Hot wings = barbeque chicken wings, quesadillas with or without chicken...

Mains can be made smaller: half size of lasagna, small bowl of plain pasta with sauce on the side, meatballs with mashed potatoes and peas...I don`t know what kind of restaurant you manage but there have to be easy options that won`t impact your budget.

.

All very good ideas and worthy of serious consideration. smile

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#16 Tue 02 Nov 10 4:04pm

nanstertoo

Forum champ
Occupation Retired nurse-midwife
From High Point, North Carolina
Member since Tue 17 Jun 08

Re: Kids menus in Restaurants

Two of my grandsons don't eat potatoes, and I can't understand why a restaurant won't substitute a salad for the fries on kids menus.  We usually order them a salad, and throw away the fries.

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#17 Tue 02 Nov 10 5:13pm

Roch-Maurice

Member
Occupation Kitchen Manager/Drummer
From Eastern Ontario, Canada
Member since Thu 14 Oct 10

Re: Kids menus in Restaurants

nanstertoo wrote:

I can't understand why a restaurant won't substitute a salad for the fries on kids menus.  We usually order them a salad, and throw away the fries.

There is one reason, right there.  They make more money off of you.

Last edited by Roch-Maurice (Tue 02 Nov 10 5:13pm)

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#18 Tue 02 Nov 10 5:42pm

chefzilla

Member
Occupation Chef
From Cheshire
Member since Mon 01 Nov 10

Re: Kids menus in Restaurants

on our menu all the kids dishes are made up from various items that we stock anyway!
chicken for example, we cut a breast in half, done. kids portion of chicken.
we make our own burgers, so its no problem to simply make some smaller ones a la minute for kids.
we offer a choice of chips(fries) OR salad, both of which we already have in stock for the lunch menu.

saying that you have to buy stuff in for kids is just an excuse for one thing or another, nothing more, nothing less. whether thats laziness, lack of imagination, or profit margins. it doesnt matter, the excuse is still there and until the industry realises this, nothing is going to change. lets stop avoiding the issue and start doing it properly!
here is my kids menu, for the inspiration of any chefs or restaurant owners managers that dont think this to be true. i shall explain each dish:

starters.

soup of the day: fresh soup that we offer on the a la carte, but in a half portion.

prawn cocktail: again, fresh, we use all the ingredients from this for other dishes on the lunch/a la carte.

caesar salad: mini version of what we offer on the lunch menu.

mini ham salad: again, all in stock. salad leaves obviously, ham we use for a omlettes on the adult lunch menu.

mains.

salmon fishcake: adult starter portion = kids main portion. simples. freshly made with 100% salmon and seasoning, no mash here!

mushroom or butternut squash risotto: all en place for adult portions anyway.

little fish and chips: half portion of our lunch dish.

burger and fries or salad: as explained above.

pan roasted chicken breast or leg with mash and seasonal veg: as explained above. seasonal veg of one type or another is ALWAYS en place!

ham or cheese sandwich: again all en place. simple, and healthy. fresh homemade bread that we normally serve with balsamic/oil for adults.

it really is that easy!!!!!
no wastage, no bought in chemical ridden crap, and most importantly NO EXCUSES!

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#19 Tue 02 Nov 10 5:43pm

BritFinn

Forum champ
Occupation Opiskelija
From Finland
Member since Thu 26 Aug 10

Re: Kids menus in Restaurants

It's not only the issue of the pre-processed crap that's on offer on a lot of kids menus being unhealthy.  For us it has serious implications as my daughter is a Celiac, and mustn't eat anything with gluten in it.  Recently when we went back to England on holiday it was a nightmare eating out.  Because so many restaurants do buy things in that quite often the staff aren't knowledgeable enough about the ingredients,  i even had one incident where the waiter brought the packaging out for me to read!  That said, some places were wonderful, the hotel we stayed at couldn't have been more helpful,  even down to the chef doing my angels toast for breakfast, because she couldn't have toast cooked on the automatic toaster.  So yes there are some dreadful menus out there, but we can vote with our custom, and just go elsewhere.  But we shouldn't forget that there are those who do have good menus, and are happy to addapt things and acomadate the customer!  Lets just hope the food revolution contiunes on going from strength to strength1 big_smile

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#20 Tue 02 Nov 10 9:06pm

slbeckett

Member
From Ontario, Canada
Member since Wed 12 Mar 08

Re: Kids menus in Restaurants

chefzilla wrote:

on our menu all the kids dishes are made up from various items that we stock anyway!
chicken for example, we cut a breast in half, done. kids portion of chicken.
we make our own burgers, so its no problem to simply make some smaller ones a la minute for kids.
we offer a choice of chips(fries) OR salad, both of which we already have in stock for the lunch menu.

saying that you have to buy stuff in for kids is just an excuse for one thing or another, nothing more, nothing less. whether thats laziness, lack of imagination, or profit margins. it doesnt matter, the excuse is still there and until the industry realises this, nothing is going to change. lets stop avoiding the issue and start doing it properly!
here is my kids menu, for the inspiration of any chefs or restaurant owners managers that dont think this to be true. i shall explain each dish:

starters.

soup of the day: fresh soup that we offer on the a la carte, but in a half portion.

prawn cocktail: again, fresh, we use all the ingredients from this for other dishes on the lunch/a la carte.

caesar salad: mini version of what we offer on the lunch menu.

mini ham salad: again, all in stock. salad leaves obviously, ham we use for a omlettes on the adult lunch menu.

mains.

salmon fishcake: adult starter portion = kids main portion. simples. freshly made with 100% salmon and seasoning, no mash here!

mushroom or butternut squash risotto: all en place for adult portions anyway.

little fish and chips: half portion of our lunch dish.

burger and fries or salad: as explained above.

pan roasted chicken breast or leg with mash and seasonal veg: as explained above. seasonal veg of one type or another is ALWAYS en place!

ham or cheese sandwich: again all en place. simple, and healthy. fresh homemade bread that we normally serve with balsamic/oil for adults.

it really is that easy!!!!!
no wastage, no bought in chemical ridden crap, and most importantly NO EXCUSES!

clap  clap  clap  clap  clap

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