Gourmet treat­ment

Par­ents splurge on din­ing for kids

Herald Sun - - NEWS - SO­PHIE ELSWORTH so­phie.elsworth@news.com.au

KIDS as young as two are be­ing treated to adult din­ing — and par­ents are un­per­turbed about the cost.

House­holds are splash­ing about $100 per restau­rant out­ing or al­most $2300 per year, new re­search has re­vealed.

Once their chil­dren reach 22 months, par­ents are happy to take them to restau­rants.

New in­de­pen­dent re­search com­mis­sioned on be­half of restau­rant reser­va­tion plat­form OpenTable found 39 per cent of par­ents will spend more than $100 when din­ing out with their gourmet kids.

As for kids meals, $14 is the aver­age price par­ents are will­ing to fork out.

OpenTable’s spokesman Tim Domelow said the re­search also re­vealed fam­i­lies are happy to spend up twice a month on restau­rant meals.

“Aus­tralians are known for be­ing ad­vo­cates for din­ing out, so it’s no sur­prise that our chil­dren are be­ing ex­posed to gourmet ten­den­cies from a young age,” he said. “Par­ents th­ese days are feel­ing much more con­fi­dent start­ing their chil­dren even be­fore they are two (to eat­ing out).”

The re­search also showed Aus­tralians are splash­ing $8.9 bil­lion an­nu­ally to dine out. Mr Domelow said many younger fam­i­lies did not want to change their life­styles af­ter hav­ing chil­dren so eat­ing out reg­u­larly was be­com­ing the norm. But the data found many din­ers are picky when choos­ing their next eatery.

The most im­por­tant things par­ents look for is a play area with chil­dren’s toys (55 per cent), a restau­rant with colour­ing books and pen­cils (50 per cent) and a place that has a pram-friendly lay­out (38 per cent.)

Restau­rant and Ca­ter­ing As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Ju­liana Payne said there was “a full spread” of restau­rants to choose from.

“If peo­ple do have small kids or those in a pram or high chair should do their re­search, ring the restau­rant or check the web­site be­fore­hand,” she said.

“Peo­ple gen­er­ally know what they want to spend and they will ad­just ac­cord­ingly.”

Ms Payne said the in­dus­try was “so com­pet­i­tive” that restau­rants had to make sure they could cater for all types of din­ers.

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