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Talk to Organix about taking your child out for a meal: you could win £100 restaurant voucher - NOW CLOSED

(117 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 23-Sep-13 11:28:35

Organix are interested in your views on the standards of food served to children and experiences of families when eating out in the UK.

Organix say "We're working in partnership with the Soil Association to inspire restaurants and pubs to provide real food, real choices and a great experience for children. We have created a league table of the top 21 restaurant chains in the UK and their offering for children. Now we'd like to know what you think about this topic".

Please share on this thread what you think about the below:

~ Do you agree or disagree that the general standard of children food and eating experience needs to improve in restaurants in the UK?
~ Do you have any good or bad examples of kids menus in your local independent restaurants, pubs and cafes? What do you like or not like about them?
~ In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why?
~ Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants?
~ What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome?

Add your comment and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win £100 of Love2Shop Restaurant vouchers (valid at hundreds of restaurants across the UK). The prize draw will happen on Monday 30 September.

You can read all about Organix, the Out to Lunch campaign and how you can get involved on their special pages on MN.

thanks and good luck.
MNHQ

MadMonkeys Mon 23-Sep-13 13:04:42

I have breastfed in loads of cares and restaurants with no problems at all. I don't find kids options that good, dd1 is picky and dd2 has allergies so i tend to take their food with me - nobody has objected yet. Independent places seem to be better for kids in my experience. They seem more happy to adapt their meal choices if asked and in my experience they seem to use fresher ingredients and cook from scratch more, which makes it easier to request plain things - like a completely plain bowl of pasta for example.

gazzalw Mon 23-Sep-13 13:07:17

Do you agree or disagree that the general standard of children food and eating experience needs to improve in restaurants in the UK?

I think there's enough choice of chain/independent cafes/restaurants (they seem to be the only business sector flourishing currently!) to find good food options for children BUT there is a tendency to fall back on the chicken nuggets and chips type meals....

I do think things have improved or maybe it's just that our children are getting older and are prepared to be more adventurous in their food choices!

~ Do you have any good or bad examples of kids menus in your local independent restaurants, pubs and cafes? What do you like or not like about them?

We've been to a couple of independently run restaurants and pubs (local too) where the children's options have been half an adult sized portion of whatever...that makes much more sense and gives the children no other choice but to venture out of their default menu comfort zone!

To be encouraged methinks!

~ In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why?

I think they are better but usually because they're actually more passionate about food and won't stoop to go with low-nutrition/interest food options for children!

~ Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants?

DW breastfed both of ours and in plenty of pubs/restaurants....I'm not sure she had any problems but that was a fair few years ago. She has commented herself that you seem to see fewer women feeding in public than when our DCs were at that stage/age....

~ What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome?

Provide more comfortable seating (or a partially 'cloistered comfy area) in which to breastfeed?

Possibly have a designated feeding room (I know finance wouldn't always allow for a spare room just for this purpose but I'm sure it would be popular with Mums!).

Some sort of national "we welcome breastfeeding mums" logo/sticker to give breastfeeding mums the 'thumbs-up' - also as a way of informing other diners that there may be breast-feeding mums 'at large' so not to be surprised/offended....

Do you agree or disagree that the general standard of children food and eating experience needs to improve in restaurants in the UK?

Yes, in many restaurants the children's offering is always sausage, chicken nuggets or fish fingers with mash, chips, beans, peas combination, with a tomato pasta for veggies. It's boring and predicatable.

Do you have any good or bad examples of kids menus in your local independent restaurants, pubs and cafes? What do you like or not like about them?

I always admire those restaurants that will do a mini version of an adult dish instead of presuming children are aliens need processed crap to survive.

I was annoyed in a chain, when I ordered an orange juice for myself and one for DD. They brought me a fresh squeezed orange juice, and DD some juice made from concentrate. Why should she have inferior orange juice just because she's a child?

In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why?

Independent restaurants seem to be better at providing the type of food that I prefer to see - smaller versions of adults meals, rather than chicken nuggets. The best example we had was when we took our daughter out for her first birthday, and the chef made a special plate for her, with all the food that she loved. Squid risotto, foie gras and spiced banana. Why should she have to settle for chips with everything just because she's a child? Now she is a bit older she loves sausage and chips, and the sausages have been mostly good quality, something which has impressed me.

Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants?

We have never had a bad experience when breastfeeding anywhere.

What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome?

It would help if restaurants asked if parents wanted somewhere that they would have privacy, e.g. a booth, or a table that was slightly screened. Also just little things, like bringing bread/munchies quickly - the hunger experienced whilst breastfeeding was like nothing I had ever been through.

grumpydwarf Mon 23-Sep-13 14:10:34

~ Do you agree or disagree that the general standard of children food and eating experience needs to improve in restaurants in the UK?

I think that the general standard of childrens food does need to improve. Alot more children nowadays will eat more exotic choices than before and all though some children will only eat "Nugget" meals etc others should have a more exciting range of choice.

~ Do you have any good or bad examples of kids menus in your local independent restaurants, pubs and cafes? What do you like or not like about them?

I tend to take my child to more chain restaurants than independants as I dont think the independant restaurants offer much choice for children.

~ In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why?

Definately worse. A chain is normally better equiped to deal with a small child rather than an independant.

~ Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants?

Never breastfed in a restaurant

~ What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel
welcome?

Have a booth or area that would sheild mum slightly so she had some privacy.

CheeryCherry Mon 23-Sep-13 14:13:28

I think food standards for children have improved over the years, more places are doing 'small adult meals' which suits my family.
We prefer places that do smaller meals off the normal menu as my DDS are vegetarian and the usual child menu choices for veggies are cheese&tomato pizza or cheese and tomato pasta. Our local pubs tend to do a smaller plate for anyone with a lighter appetitie, which is just right, and there are plenty of vegetarian choices.
I think it varies from chain to independent place. It is good to go to the odd chain as you know what you are going to get, there is a familiarity, if not anything different. Chains often have easily accessible highchairs, suitable loos etc too. Our local pubs tend to be a more relaxed, less rowdy venues, and produce good home cooked food.
I have no breast feeding stories to tell, it was never a problem for me. I think as long as the woman is in a comfortable position to feed, she can be as subtle as she wishes. Maybe hideous bright strip lighting may not be good!

LovesBeingOnHoliday Mon 23-Sep-13 14:51:16

Mostly I find food aimed at kids to be poor, unless it part of tge normal menu.

As a bf I found no problems feeding my babies and that goes from food courts to John Lewis to pubs

DorisShutt Mon 23-Sep-13 14:52:53

Do you agree or disagree that the general standard of children food and eating experience needs to improve in restaurants in the UK?
Food standards have improved over the years - there doesn't seem to be as many "children's rooms" with sticky floors and bad service as there was when I was growing up. However, I would much prefer if more restaurants offered the option of smaller or half portions of adults meals rather than the usual chicken strips/fish fingers that seems to be the standard cop-out.

Do you have any good or bad examples of kids menus in your local independent restaurants, pubs and cafes? What do you like or not like about them?
Our local restaurant which also incorporates a soft play facility is great as it's all home cooked, low salt and "good" food. While they do offer the standard options, they do offer anything on their menu in smaller portions - which is not only great for children, but also for grandparents with smaller appetites.

In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why?
I think it depends on the location. One of our local resturants is brilliant, another not so much. Similarly, you can visit different branches of the same restaurant chain and have totally different experiences.
That said, independents tend to have more flexibility to adapt and change things that aren't working.

Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants?
Due to ill health, I wasn't able to breastfeed my son past a few weeks, but I can safely say that I've never had any bad experiences when out with friends who breastfeed.

What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome?
I think just being aware that mums with babies may want to breastfeed and thus seat them in an appropriate location - maybe in a more comfortable booth rather than on hard chairs for example. Also training staff not to stare!

stealthsquiggle Mon 23-Sep-13 14:54:19

~ Do you agree or disagree that the general standard of children food and eating experience needs to improve in restaurants in the UK?

I would say it has improved, massively, over the last decade or so. I would be deeply disappointed in any restaurant which did not welcome (well behaved) children and cater to them within reason. In fact, my DB booked a (very nice, but not amazing) restaurant in North London and when we turned up they announced that they had a "no children after 6pm" policy. Apparently he was supposed to have mentioned when he booked that 2 of the party were under 16, even though both of them would quite happily eat from an adult menu hmm. We went to a lovely welcoming place over the road instead and neither DB nor anyone he knows and has influence over have been back to nasty unwelcoming restaurant since.

~ Do you have any good or bad examples of kids menus in your local independent restaurants, pubs and cafes? What do you like or not like about them?

Bad example - see above. Good examples - many of them. Most of our local independents (rural W. Mids) have very reasonably priced "children's menus" consisting of small portions of simple food from good ingredients, but all will happily do half portions of anything from the menu unless it doesn't lend itself to it (individual pies and the like). They are all welcoming to children, some of the pubs have colouring sheets, crayons, etc available if you want them, but mostly they treat DC as people rather than as a nuisance.

The best children's menu ever is at the Manoir aux Quat' Saisons. It was amazing and kept DD (6) spellbound and at the table for nearly 3 hours with no complaints at all.

~ In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why?

Neither. Some good chains (ASK, Pizza Express), some lousy chains (Cafe Rouge), lots of good independents and the odd lousy one. I think chains are in a better position to put thought into provision for children and produce things to entertain small DC (ASK ones are great, for example) but independents can cater more easily to the individual customer.

~ Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants?

My DC were both FF - but I have had everything from tolerance to really helpful (asking if I would like them to hold back my food until I had finished feeding them, etc)

~ What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome?

Not sure - I would (possible naively) assume that "Families Welcome" meant that all ages, including breastfed babies, were welcome.

themummyonthebus Mon 23-Sep-13 14:57:13

I think children's meals need to be improved globally, not just the UK. Nuggets, pasta, chips, burgers seem to be considered as universal the world over.

Independents are much better than chains generally, especially for tailoring main menu meals to little appetites. The best meal DC (2) ever had was at a Michelin starred restaurant where they had developed a children's menu that was fun and tasty and treated the child as a person that would enjoy eating an inventive meal full of interesting flavours and textures.

I've never had a bad experience of breastfeeding. The best restaurants bring some water and something to nibble on but don't fuss. I have had someone once ask me if I preferred them to wait before bringing out my meal until I finished feeding DC. I thought that was quite nice.

prakattack Mon 23-Sep-13 15:01:31

Do you agree or disagree that the general standard of children food and eating experience needs to improve in restaurants in the UK?
I think a lot of restaurants have improved recently but there are still a few too many who rely on "nugget" meals, as if that's the only thing that children will eat!

Do you have any good or bad examples of kids menus in your local independent restaurants, pubs and cafes? What do you like or not like about them?
Restaurants tend to be about the same, whether chain or independent, but I find independent pubs much better than chains in kids menus. They're much more likely to have smaller portions of the adult menu, or more exciting options, instead of the usual nuggets/ sausages.

Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants?

I never had any issues breastfeeding anywhere.

What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome?
Not sure. Since I didn't have problems, I didn't feel there was anything missing to be honest.

LindySfarne Mon 23-Sep-13 15:07:13

Children's menus often seem very unadventurous and unhealthy, but I guess they've done their market research and know what customers order.

I would prefer to simply order a half portion of what's on the main menu for my child - but that's very rarely an option unless you get the choice of ordering, say, a pasta dish as a starter rather than a main.

xalyssx Mon 23-Sep-13 15:09:14

Do you agree or disagree that the general standard of children food and eating experience needs to improve in restaurants in the UK?

It definitely needs to improve.

~ Do you have any good or bad examples of kids menus in your local independent restaurants, pubs and cafes? What do you like or not like about them?

Hmm... Wetherspoons is the best in my opinion actually, it has typical kid's stuff but it also has mini roast dinners that taste really good.
I went to a Mexican pub last week and they had a children's menu, but it was all the typical fried crap, so I got DS a vegetable and goat's cheese quesadilla off the adult's menu and he loved it... Restaurants should just serve smaller portions of adult dishes
We went to a Chinese restaurant the other day, and although they didn't have a kid's menu, they did make a simple beancurd and baby corn and rice meal for DS, so that was really good.

~ In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why?

It's about the same in my experience, half serve fried crap wherever you go

~ Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants?

I wasn't able to breastfeed

~ What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome?

I don't know sorry

ShatnersBassoon Mon 23-Sep-13 15:18:02

I think children's meals have really improved in recent years, and it tends to only be the small pubs and independent cafes that are stuck in the 'something beige with chips' days. I haven't been anywhere for years that didn't offer a nutritious option for children. Even McDonalds have moved on and encourage children to have fruit or veg instead of chips.

Breastfeeding, I don't recall having a problem anywhere, and I don't think restaurants need to do anything to make it easier.

RugBugs Mon 23-Sep-13 15:37:16

I think generally it has improved but was dissapointed to be turned away from our local Thai back in April as it apparently wasn't a suitable restaurant for our DD.
We had a difficult job persuading our very good local curry house to provide a high chair too but they did relent in the end.
There is a fabulously welcoming restaurant down in Brighton, they serve not exactly small portions of their menu and always make such a fuss of DC, so of course this is always where we go when visiting family in the area.

I've bf in plenty of restaurants and pubs, I tend to choose or ask for a quiet table where I can be discrete but it doesn't always happen. ASK once put us slap bang in the middle of a full restaurant with me facing the open kitchen, I got out the emergency carton on that occasion.

crazykat Mon 23-Sep-13 15:52:23

I think the standards of children's food is okay in most restaurants. In soft play type places it definitely needs improving.

While the standard is okay, the choice isn't great - a lot of nuggets/fish fingers/sausages or spaghetti type dishes. Chains like fayre square do offer a choice of mash/jacket potato/chips and different vegetables which make it slightly better.

It would be nice if they offered scaled down versions of the adult meals though as my 6yo likes what I have and moans that she can't have the same.

The menus for older children are usually rubbish with only two or three options which is no good for those who are still hungry after a child's portion but can't eat an adult one. Again it would be good to see scaled down adult choices.

We tend to go to buffet style restaurants as the choices are better for children as they can pick and choose and there is more variety.

ouryve Mon 23-Sep-13 16:01:22

~ Do you agree or disagree that the general standard of children food and eating experience needs to improve in restaurants in the UK?

Far to many restaurants have variedd adult menus, then barely veer from the nuggets chips and beans option for children. That option has its place [looks at DS2] but there's no reason not to offer children appropriately sized portions of some of the adult choices.

~ Do you have any good or bad examples of kids menus in your local independent restaurants, pubs and cafes? What do you like or not like about them?

It's so long since we ate out, but one particularly memorable experience was ordering something for me, in a pub, that was accompanied by peas, and something from the child's menu for DS1, and opting for peas with it. My peas were bright green and tasted like ordinary frozen peas (I'd expect no more) while DS1's were almost grey and appeared to be from a tin.

~ In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why?

I've found no difference. Some chains (eg TGI Friday) are really on the ball and cater for varied child tastes, from the safe to the more adventurous. Other stick with crap and chips for children.

~ Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants?

Not done this

~ What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome?

Both of my boys were far too distractable to comfortable nurse in a busy area. I might have found it easier in a setting with some quiet booths. Both of the boys still prefer sitting with their back to a wall if we do eat ou - they can't cope with people walking behind them and they're 7 and 9, now!

Spirael Mon 23-Sep-13 16:08:15

~ Do you agree or disagree that the general standard of children food and eating experience needs to improve in restaurants in the UK?

I think it's been getting better. There are still cases where the child menu is a choice of three generic deep fried things, but in a lot of places now there's a good option for smaller portions of adult meals.

~ Do you have any good or bad examples of kids menus in your local independent restaurants, pubs and cafes? What do you like or not like about them?

I like the child options available at my favourite indian restaurant. They offer smaller portions of curries alongside milder options for delicate palates, so more adventurous young people can get stuck in with a proper curry.

~ In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why?

The chains tend to be better prepared for children, with specific menus ready. However, they also struggle to deviate from their script and could sometimes do with being more flexible! There's a huge difference between what a 2 year old and a 12 year old will eat, but in some places they're both categorised as Children and given the same menu/portions.

Meanwhile the independent restaurants are sometimes a bit more haphazard, they may not have a specific child menu. But, they're more flexible and willing to make things up as they go along. Such as halving a portion size for a 2 year old and reducing the price accordingly.

~ Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants?

I've never had any problems breastfeeding in any restaurants. Special note goes to Betty's Tea Room though for always being exceptionally accomodating!

~ What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome?

Make sure not to seat a potentially breast feeding mother with a small baby under/opposite/facing a big wall of mirrors! Being discreet is hard enough without contending with huge amounts of reflective surfaces. A nice booth is appreciated.

Also, it wouldn't stop me from breastfeeding if there wasn't one, but having a sign outside indicating the breastfeeding is welcome makes me feel more relaxed.

Oh, and maybe having some knorks/sporks available would be useful. Trying to breastfeed and eat one handed can be a PITA if you have food to cut up. Knorks/sporks make it a bit easier!

Spirael Mon 23-Sep-13 16:11:01

Oh, one more thing! Menus for small children should include pictures of the dishes. DD (3 YO) loves choosing her own meal off the menu, but she can't read yet! With pictures of the options available, she can browse them all independently and then show us the one she wants.

MoonHare Mon 23-Sep-13 16:30:53

I think the general standard of children's food and eating experience does need to improve in restaurants in the UK. Menu choices are limited and the same old things everywhere, which wouldn't be so bad if they were done consistently well but they are not.

I have to say I've never really found independent cafes/pubs to be any better than the chains, in fact they are often worse because they are usually much more expensive for the same sort of offer and not in my experience any more flexible. Sometimes they can try too hard to appeal to parents rather simply than serving decent quality food that most children would like. A local example is a newly opened tea-room with large 'families welcome' signage. The kids menu was the usual sausages, fish fingers etc but they were 'butchers' sausages of the large, coarse and herby variety, or fish goujons not fish fingers. My children love sausages but complained they were full of bits and too spicy. Both dishes came with beans but fancy beans not Heinz-type baked beans and the ketchup was home made. Delicious if for me but not what the children were expecting and a waste of £5 per children's meal. IMO kids food doesn't need to be 'fancyfied', just good quality, well cooked and served quickly.

A good chain place locally is Pizza Express. The choice is good, service is usually quick but they only have 4 high chairs, we've been forced to go elsewhere before because there were no high chairs available.

Our local Frankie and Benny's has a good well priced children's menu and great children's packs to keep them amused, they could get it so right HOWEVER the food is usually horribly overcooked and inedible and the service SOOOOO slow that the children are passed themselves by the time it arrives, generally after the adults have been served. I think I have finally learned my lesson and won't be eating there again.

I like places that offer smaller sized portions of dishes off their usual menu, that way the children can eat food much closer to that we have at home and so we know they will eat - my children are not experimental eaters. In my experience it tends to be independent restaurants that cater best for children (where they are actually welcome though, lots of places don't have high chairs, which tends to mean children are not welcome there).

I wish food outlets would charge more flexibly. With a 5 year old and a 2 year old we are paying for the appetite of 10 year olds when ordering children's dishes. It would be great if more places offered a small child's portion. We often order one children's meal and an extra plate then split the food between them. This is fine when the staff remember to bring both food and spare plate at the same time, often they don't or the spare plate is forgotten and has to be asked for again.

I have breastfed my children all over the place and never had any problems. However I often would have appreciated a more comfy seat or quieter table, especially with older babies as mine have always been so easily distracted that they don't feed well if there's lots going on around them. But there's not a lot eateries can do about that.

My main suggestions to improve the experience of eating out for children are;
Give plenty of choice over the side orders instead of just peas or beans with everything
Keep portion sizes appropriate for the ages of the children and price accordingly
Bring the children's food out first!!!!
Speed up the service
Always offer crayons and paper
Have plenty of high chairs, the sort with a solid post between the legs so that smaller babies can use the chairs comfortably

Magicjellyflood Mon 23-Sep-13 16:34:46

Not much to say, it's a bloody nightmare grinwink

Chain places often seem to be better in terms of having high chairs, changing facilities etc, but we have had great experiences in both. Our local independent Italian restaurant offers a very basic children's menu - carbonara, bolognaise or a pizza with 3 toppings, followed by ice cream - but it is cheap and both boys like it. Doesn't come with any veg/salad though, which is a shame. Recently we had a good experience at Jamie's Italian, where they automatically bring crayons and little slide viewers to play with. Don't know if the novelty would wear off after a while though. We also like various independent cafés who will bring you half-portions of anything on the menu.

The boys like places that do children's lunch boxes, but they vary in my experience. Sometimes there is very little left to choose between, and often you end up with crisps AND chocolate AND sweets. A lot of the time, these lunch boxes only come with cartons of juice as well, which DS2 won't drink, so we end up having to order him milk or water seperately.

One of the nicest meals we had out with children was a Turkish restaurant in London. We asked if DS2 could have milk to drink and they ended up sending someone out specially to buy him some!

tinypumpkin Mon 23-Sep-13 16:58:42

Do you agree or disagree that the general standard of children food and eating experience needs to improve in restaurants in the UK?
Yes, too many options with chips only! Also, really poor options for children who are veggie.

~ Do you have any good or bad examples of kids menus in your local independent restaurants, pubs and cafes? What do you like or not like about them?
As above, too many chip options. I truly don't mind chips (yum) but some variety of options would be better. Half portions of adult meals would be good to offer also.

~ In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why?
Generally better and more flexible in their options.

~ Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants?
Never had a bad experience at all nor a particularly great experience.

~ What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome?
I am not sure what could be offered as separate feeding rooms just makes more of an issue for me. Perhaps some more comfy seats would be good/

Wallison Mon 23-Sep-13 17:07:01

<<Do you agree or disagree that the general standard of children food and eating experience needs to improve in restaurants in the UK?>>

I agree that it generally needs to improve - far too many things like fish fingers and chips. Even in places where they offer things that are similar to the adult menu, the food seems to be very bland in comparison - you know, little garlic, not much in the way of herbs etc. I know they can't put salt on it, but a little inventiveness with flavour goes a long way. I dislike the way that food is so often divided into 'kids' and 'adults' - food is food.

~ Do you have any good or bad examples of kids menus in your local independent restaurants, pubs and cafes? What do you like or not like about them?

The best ones are where you get exactly the same as the adult choices, but a smaller sized portion. When I cook at home, I serve the same for kids as I do for adults and really it should be the same in a restaurant. Another good type of restaurant would I guess be the South Indian one near where I live where you can order lots of little side dishes so there is plenty of variety even if the kids have smaller appetites than the adults - you don't even need to get a main, if you don't want to. Great for introducing new flavours.

~ In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why?

It totally depends on the staff. My son had severe allergies when he was younger and some places were good and some were bad, but didn't spot a pattern whereby chains=good or independents = good; it was just if you get a staff member who is on the ball.

~ Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants?

BHS staff were always lovely when I went in there - would carry my tray for me, give me glasses of water etc. That might just have been the branch though.

~ What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome?

I think just making the practicalities easier to handle - like I said above, I always appreciated it if they could spare someone to carry my tray, and glasses of water were likewise very welcome (it's thirsty work!) But other than that, just to let us get on with it.

~ Do you agree or disagree that the general standard of children food and eating experience needs to improve in restaurants in the UK?

I think the general standard is fine! I've never had a bad experience eating out with my ds. smile

~ Do you have any good or bad examples of kids menus in your local independent restaurants, pubs and cafes? What do you like or not like about them?

We went in a pub eatery type place where the kids menu looked really promising, I even convinced DS to have some raw carrot sticks with his meal, however when the food came to the table his carrot sticks were grotty - a mixture of dry and manky. Not a great help! DS is funny about food and it completely put him off his meal.That particular place didn't seem to try as hard with the kids food. I doubt they would have served those carrot sticks to an adult!!

~ In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why?

I've found small independant restaurants and cafes are better at catering for what me and DS need. The experience tends to be more personable and friendly than in a chain where it seems to be a one size will fit all philosophy.

~ Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants?

Nope. I didn't breastfeed so not applicable.

~ What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome?

I would think perhaps an area where prams can be parked so they aren't blocking tables or walkways, supportive members of staff, and good baby changing facilities would encourage new mums in, breast feeding or not.

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