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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

rootypig Mon 23-Sep-13 18:05:12

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

Yes - both the food, and the welcome. Britain compares badly to so many countries - Italy, Spain, Ireland, Canada and the US, among others - for making children and families welcome in restaurants. And the food options for children are usually boring if not inadequate.

~ 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?

Many chains - Carluccios, Pizza Express, Giraffe come to mind - pride themselves on being child / family friendly and having children's menus. But their children's food is incredibly salty, barely modified versions of the adult menu. Because of the salt, I wouldn't feed it to an under 3. My daughter is 11 months and I bring her own food with me, wherever we go. Which is a shame, because she eats pretty much what we eat at home.

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

Independent are better, I would say. They tend to be better in all regards anyway - fresher food, more individual menus.

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

I always breastfed wherever I was, and never experienced any problems.

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

Prominent signs saying breastfeeding welcome - on the door? Staff intervening to support BFing mothers when other customers object.

Skoggy Mon 23-Sep-13 18:09:18

~ 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 there is much room for improvement. Too many places still only sell "this with chips" "that with mash" and the good old spag bol. On a personal note, DD1 (2yo) eats exactly as we eat. Curries, chilli, Scandinavian food, it doesn't matter. She isn't keen on most of the kids meals they serve in restaurants etc. She will eat sausages, but is a bit of a snob and will only eat "proper" sausages and not ones full of processed meat.

There needs to be a move towards offering children better meals. It doesn't matter that baked beans are counted as part of your 5 a day, serving them with chips and processed meats kind of cancels them out. I'd like to see more offerings along the lines of "meat and 2 veg" but proper meat and fresh veggies. There shouldn't be an increase in prices to offer better food.

I've been known to walk around my city centre looking for somewhere to take my kids for lunch until way past their lunch time, just looking for somewhere they can get something half decent. For goodness sake, a salad filled sub from Subway is better than fried food and chips. I've resorted to taking food for them and sitting on a park bench somewhere.

~ 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 have been surprised to see that some of my local cafes don't even offer kids meals. In asking, if they have a kids menu, I've been told "this" and "this" from the main menu is suitable for kids. Yes, it may be suitable for kids but when it is served in adult portions, it a massive waste of money. Asking for a plain cheese sandwich for DD1 resulted in being brought a massive sandwich made of thick bloomer slices... 4 of them! When asked if it was possible for only 1 of the sandwiches, I was told they could take one away but I would still have to pay for the whole portion!

It is so hard to think of any good example I'm afraid. There isn't much choice even in my huge student filled city.

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

I think is much of a muchness really. Its sad.

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

Unable to answer as medical reason mean I can't bf.

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

Probably better privacy but, once again, unable to answer.

WowOoo Mon 23-Sep-13 18:21:44

I agree. There are far too many places that have an OK menu for adults, but the children's menu is the same boring stuff again and again - fish and chips, sausages and so on.
Smaller portions for half the price would be great.

One of our local restaurants gives smaller portions from the adult menu. The staff also warn you if something is likely to be very spicy or rich. They are fantastic.
Water comes straight away with a straw so they tend not to ask for expensive alternatives. But they do tempt the children with a wide selection of veg, side dishes and desserts!

Independent restaurants are far better. See above. They are always busy because they welcome children and respect their choices.

Breastfeeding experiences: Just good ones mostly. I used to ask for a more private table in the corner and most places understood and tried to accommodate.
Staff were never a problem when I was breastfeeding, it was other customers that annoyed me!

I quite like going out for dinner with our toddler DD. she is now old enough that I can share a meal with her as even she is not interested in the usual pizza/chicken nuggets offerings on kids menus.

What does annoy me though is when the toilets aren't big enough for you to get in with a child. Surely it can't be that hard to factor in enough space for people to around in.

Chains do tend to be a bit better at being 'child friendly' but they're not necessarily nice places to go for a meal.

Not everywhere can or will want to be child friendly. I understand that entirely but I wish that the child friendly ones would just be a bit nicer and I wouldn't dislike them as much!

BornToFolk Mon 23-Sep-13 18:36:48

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

Agree. Children's menus are still mostly fried stuff and chips.

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?

Unfortunately I live in a town with very few independent restaurants or pubs. There are a few decent independent cafes though and although they don't specifically "children's" food, they do smaller portions,

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

Better. I'm getting really fed up with chain restaurants as the vegetarian options are usually so rubbish. Pasta with tomato sauce or cheese and tomato pizza are usually the only options. Las Iguanas is our favourite as it actually has interesting food for veggie children! Quite often recently, I've ended up being something from the adult menu for DS. He's only 5 and can't finish an adult portion but at least he gets something a bit nicer than tomato pasta to eat!

GlitzPig Mon 23-Sep-13 19:01:32

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

Absolutely-still generally processed crap and chips, or tomato pasta in Italian places.

~ 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 favourite independent place does a half size of any dish on the menu, which is great! Another does a tasting plate, with a bit of everything-perfect for children who like a bit of everything.

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

Ok, as there is generally a vegetarian option, but boring-DS would love things other than tomato pasta, or cheese and tomato pasta for a lunch out!

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

I only ever breastfed in the parents room at John Lewis or similar places-DS was very easily distracted, so somewhere quiet, without music playing and people having fun, was ideal for us. I also hated getting my breasts out in public.

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

I don't think it's fair or realistic to ask for a quiet place for me to feed in a restaurant if I have another baby, so would be happy just knowing that no-one was going to tell me off-maybe offer a glass of tap water if they notice someone feeding?

littlemonkeychops Mon 23-Sep-13 19:03:42

Yes there needs to be a big improvement, we've had more bad experiences than good i'd say. Lots of places are ok in terms of the dining experienc, ie offering highchairs and a children's menu, or colouring materials etc. But we've found lots of menus are still very fish fingers/chicken nuggets chips and beans, which DD will pick at but nof eat. Pasta is getting pretty common to be fair which she will eat.

Best experiences, one chain restaurant had a childrens' menu with a seperate toddlers' menu of smaller portions and more finger friendly food. That was good as it can be annoying paying £5 for a meal for DD only to have her turn her nose up at it!

In general we've found independent better - our local museum cafe does cheese on toast for toddlers (propper cheddar on wholemeal bread), or a toddler platter of finger foods (cheese, crackers, ham, grapes, breadsticks etc).

i've never had a bad experience breastfeeding and would make a big scene if i did! Our local m&s cafe has always been very welcoming.

Wallison Mon 23-Sep-13 19:14:42

mrscumberbatch, I agree that most so-called 'child friendly' places make my teeth itch. Sure, they might provide colouring and crayons but the food is usually fucking rank, both for adults and children - bland, beige and overpriced. Yes, Frankie and bloody Benny, I'm looking at you. One of our favourite places to go for Sunday lunch is a cocktail bar so not obviously marketed towards children but actually the staff are all very accommodating and my son loves the fact that he has a choice of six different gravies and gets proper food that is properly tasty. When he was littler I just used to take crayons and a small notepad for him to amuse himself with until the (gorgeous) food came - as far as I can see, that's the only attraction with most 'child friendly' places anyway. Also, when he still had them they were shit-hot on paying attention to his allergies, which is something that both chains and independents fell down on, even when I rang in advance to warn them that he really couldn't eat certain food.

Plus, us grown-ups get to drink Margaritas. Win-win.

missorinoco Mon 23-Sep-13 19:26:33

I haven't had a problem breastfeeding in cafes or restaurants. I probably ate out more when DC1 was tiny then I do now.

I do recall though that when we went to Italy and went out for food the staff were so visibly pleased to see a baby we felt relaxed at eating.

I think the standard is variable. One local cafe here does an excellent children eat free with an adult during the week, which is great. The food is of equal quality. I went to a local pub, part of a chain, and the childrens meals were so huge they would have phased me. My four year old barely made an indent.

We often attend the Italian restaurants that are child friendly. Food is fine, but the standard and child friendliness has me going back. In one the waitress arrived with colouring pencils as she saw DC getting bored, and the manageress kindly moved furniture to help me get the double buggy out after DH kindly backed it into a corner. These details will bring me back at least as much as the food.

StrangeGlue Mon 23-Sep-13 19:29:32

I think children's food in restaurants has improved. Many of the big chains now go beyond fish fingers and chips. My favourite are always ones that do little portions of the adults meal.

The issue with littlies is always the time it takes to get served and then for the food to appear. This tends to actually be worse in independents including those aimed directly at kids. Dunno why, maybe smaller kitchens but you can be waiting a very long time in some places.

I ff so can't comment on breast feeding.

nextphase Mon 23-Sep-13 19:36:47

No problems breast feeding kids when out and about.

My best kids menu? Kids size adult portions. Local independent here will do half size adult, or chicken gougons n chips. Ds1 (4) tucked into octopus - never had it before, his choice, and he adored it - and saty noodles, DS2 (2) had duck rolls and ???

We often order 3 adult dishes, ask for an extra plate, and mix things up from all dishes.

NeatFreak Mon 23-Sep-13 19:38:46

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

Agree entirely!
~ 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?

Most of my experiences involve the children being welcome and enjoying it but mo examples of amazing food options for them

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

Independents are more flexible and able to leave things off dishes, essential for picky ds

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

I've never had any reactions, either positive or negative

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

Comfy seats and offering refills/ water etc. one cafe I use regularly has fixed seats and I really struggle to feed dd in them as we are too close to the table. I end up sitting sideways with my feet up, not ideal!

Happiestinwellybobs Mon 23-Sep-13 19:42:01

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

I do agree; I find that children's menus tend to be nuggets, fish fingers, etc. We don't seem to embrace children in a lot of places.

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?

I don't like the same old - chicken nuggets, fish finders, pizza etc menu that is often found in a lot of places. Our local Italian does child portions of a lot of the pasta options which is great. We have a local independent restaurant that appears to offer the standard fare, but actually their fish fingers are proper goujons, their nuggets are proper chicken breast. I am happier for my daughter to eat there.

Independent restaurants seem much better in my opinion. The chains offer cheap food which is lacklustre.

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

N/A

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

Plenty of high chairs, booster seats, crayons, waitresses that don't scowl if food is dropped on the floor (I will always clean up after we've finished), toilet facilities with mini seats, a good range of healthy options.

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

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?
One of the main problems I have with kids' menus is the portion size. We went to a lovely independent Italian for a big family meal and the kids all chose pizzas from the kids' menu. Honestly they would have been too big for me. They weren't any smaller than an adult one confused

I find most places offer a kids' menu for Under 12's but there's a big difference in what an 11 year old will eat and a 4 year old. I would like to see more menus with size options (e.g. Small - roughly aimed at Under 4's, Medium - under 8's, Large - Under 12's) so parents could choose a meal that suits their child's appetite. It's really annoying having to pay £3.95 (usual price where we go) for a child's meal when she only manages to eat a tiny bit of it. We often buy one and share it between both dc.

In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why?
I don't think there's a huge difference. Even within a chain you get different experiences at different branches. I think it is perhaps easier to choose a chain that welcomes children because it tends to be more obvious in their menus and advertising whether they want to attract families.

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Mon 23-Sep-13 20:01:21

~ 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 needs to improve. There are a lot of restaurants where all of the children's choices are something and chips and the menu bears little or no resemblance to the adult menu. As children get older I think it's even more important that they should be offered smaller portions of the main menu.
~ 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 don't like children's menus where there isn't a single healthier choice - everything is fried with chips.
A good example - a local cafe has a children's menu where children select 6 different things from the menu eg cheese, tomatoes, grapes, hummus, olives, sausages, homemade beans, salsa, carrot, pepper & cucumber batons etc to be served with fresh bread. This creates a plate that is in keeping with the cafe main menu. they can also have a half portion of anything from the menu.
~ In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why?
In my experience, local independent restaurants are worse than the chains, but a lot of that is area dependent. I've found that in some areas the independent places are much better. I think the bad restaurants just opt for the lazy everything fried plus chips options.
~ Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants?
I haven't had any bad experiences breastfeeding in restaurants.
~ What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome?
Not really for breastfeeding, but in general - an area for storing buggies away from the table and decent changing facilities.
I don't think they need to do anything specifically for breastfeeding. Maybe just prepare waiting staff so they have some idea what to do when they take food out and suddenly find that a mother is feeding her baby eg "would you like me to keep this warm or are you ready to eat?"

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Mon 23-Sep-13 20:03:43

Forgot to say - when I ask if the child's meal can be made in advance and allowed to cool for 10 minutes before being brought to the table, why is that such a problem? My child can't be that unusual in being unable to eat piping hot food and not being happy to sit looking at her meal for ages before its cool enough to eat.

Iwaswatchingthat Mon 23-Sep-13 20:19:16

~ 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 food for children in UK restaurants and pubs is pretty standard. You can more or less guarantee it will be pasta and sauce, sausages, chicken nuggets and a burger. All served with chips and peas/beans. They seem to lack imagination. But to be fair my children eat out so rarely they are usually happy with what is on offer.
~ 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 have a local independent restaurant which offers children's meals which are the same as the adult choices, but just a smaller portion. Also a local cafe within a play centre which does a lovely child's Sunday lunch at a reasonable price.
~ In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why? I think independent restaurants are better as they seem to more flexible about what you can have. E.g. Choose from adult menu with a smaller portion. Chains and larger pubs seem to be stuck in the 'kids' menu' rut with the usual choices mentioned above. Also local restaurants seem to have more seasonal menus and often have specials. We have an excellent local vegetarian restaurant which does a fab hummus platter for the children with breads and veg of their choice. We are not vegetarian, but they enjoy this meal very much.
~ Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants? I always had positive experiences of breast feeding in restaurants. I always fed at the table and was always treated really well by staff and other customers.
~ What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome? Perhaps be more explicit about breast feeding being welcome in their restaurants - a standard sign or something? Also have a lovely room with a chair for mothers who are more shy about feeding at the table. This room must be separate from a changing room or a toilet though. Nothing worse than feeding next to a stinky nappy bin or sat on a loo lid.

Theincidental Mon 23-Sep-13 20:28:20

The standard of children's food in restaurants/pubs is generally dire. It's always some reconstituted meat/fish with bens and chips. Pasta is bland and no care or thought. Chains are the worst. Some Indy venues give better choice and fresh foods.

I never had issues bf in public and did so frequently. One lovely Indy cafe even state open for an extra 15 mins so my son could finish a feed. They were brilliant.

Theincidental Mon 23-Sep-13 20:30:03

One way venues could improve is if seeing a mother on her own bf or with a small child, to offer table service or carry food /drink over. Whenever people go the extra mile like that it makes me feel very valued as a customer.

DoctorGilbertson Mon 23-Sep-13 20:47:35

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

It really depends on the day. On the rare occasion where my children are beautifully behaved I do not mind at all waiting for food. At all other times quick service is paramount.

~ 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 local swimming pool is usually the height of our eating out experience and I have to say that it is reasonable. Jacket potatoes, pasta or sandwiches, and not too expensive. I like that the kids can run around while waiting for their food (see above)

Oh and the local soft play, which is a bit more expensive but nicer food. Same pasta/sandwich/potato type options though. Oh and a nice toast/humous/vegetable sticks thing for kids. but slow service (see above)

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

Chains are good when they are quick (see above). Does buying a coffee for me and fruit for the kids from a drive through count? probably not but we do this occasionally too.

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

Not for a few years but I never had any problems previously.

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

Not sure, I was a "just breastfeed anywhere" type so never really noticed it.

SaltySeaBird Mon 23-Sep-13 21:12:57

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

I've had very mixed experiences. At some, the standard has been fantastic. At others less so. My DD is still very young.

~ 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?

A local cafe has a fantastic kids menu and are really happy to be flexible. Children's food is beautifully presented there, for example strawberry jam on toast is cut into triangles, arranged on cute plastic plates with a huge strawberry in the middle. It's only £1! They have a really wide range of simple and healthy options.

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

It varies, but the ones who have it right are fantastic. Equally some have very limited options, like chicken nuggets and chips. I don't think they are consistently better or worse.

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

I've breastfed everywhere, but very discreetly. I've never had a bad or especially positive experience. I've generally been ignored which I was fine with.

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

Hard one for me to answer but a discreet corner with a comfy chair is always welcome.

sharond101 Mon 23-Sep-13 21:43:57

~ Do you agree or disagree that the general standard of children food and eating experience needs to improve in restaurants in the UK?
yes less processed food for children and less chips. More 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 find our local soft play centres are awful for kids foods. They are all chips and something with no or very little vegetables. We go to Harvester often and there menu is not too bad and offers some more appealing veg.
~ In your experience, are independent restaurants worse or better than the chains at catering for your and child’s needs? Why? I have no real experience of this and when we went to an independent establishment they did not have a childrens menu!
~ Have you any good or bad experiences to share about breastfeeding your child in restaurants? I had to give my baby expressed milk in a bottle so no experience here.
~ What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome? More concealed areas for nursing mums.

manfalou Mon 23-Sep-13 22:11:31

~ 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 it depends, there is always a 'better' option on the menu than the usual nuggets etc and I tend to think of a trip to a restaurant as a treat so don't mind what the kiddies have when we're out. I always have the not so good stuff when I'm out so I don't expect them to eat something super healthy. DS usually has yorkshire sausage and mash when we go out, we havnt really had a bad experience yet.

~ 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 very local pub has amazing food all round and the kids menu is no exception. Again its not the 'healthy' type but they make amazing cheese and tomato pastries and home made pies in kids sizes.

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

Around here, the local restaurants are much better than the chains but we often go to our local Brewers fair pub because their food is decent quality and they've always been good at catering for our DS who doesn't like any sauce etc on his dinner but always wants it at the side... they're used to bringing out his gravy in a mini boat now =) Our local independent pub will cook a meal from scratch which is not on the menu should you ask them too (as long as they have ingredients).

Hopezibah Mon 23-Sep-13 22:12:32

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

Definitely needs to improve. I find it so annoying that even in restaurants with fabulous quality meals for adults, they serve much lower quality meat / sausages / menus for kids.

~ 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?

A local pub that does wonderful meals simply does half size portions of the standard menu for kids and that is perfect. A good healthy high quality meal at the right size and price for kids! I wish everywhere would do that rather than try to appeal to kids with the same old menus of sausage and mash (usually poor quality sausage!!!) or nuggets and beans etc.

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

I think the food can be better because they are less likely to have a poor quality kids menu so kids can eat from the adult menu but less equipped in terms of entertainment. So we usually keep a pack of cards or a few toys in my bag for the kids.

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

I've always breastfed regardless of whether it is 'approved of'. The only place I was reluctant to breastfeed with my first baby was macdonalds because I had heard a rumour that they didn't allow it so I never dared. Since then though I have breastfed and not had a problem.

~ What more could restaurants do to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome?
A simple logo on the corner of the menu or a window sticker to say breastfeeding welcome could help us feel at ease knowing it is not frowned upon there.

MrsCocoa Mon 23-Sep-13 22:25:32

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

Think it's getting better. Round here there are more places with healthy, (child) enticing and well priced options than ten years ago. And we're made to feel welcome, rather than tolerated, more often too (but maybe that's down to a less buoyant economy...?).

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?

Yes we do. I like a good choice of main course options, which offer a child friendly sub-set of the restaurant's fare, and not all with chips! We also like good value all-in options which include a drink and pudding (scoop of ice cream etc). Makes it less financially stressful if I can see what I'm going to pay without having to budget for lots of adult sized/priced extras and the lure of pudding keeps them at the table. Have had some fab experiences with great waiting staff too. Appreciate people taking care with temperatures of drinks, thinking to bring appropriate cutlery and being understanding if accidents do occur.

A fave café does lots of cheap and cheerful 'on toast' options for kids. Again, can nip in and have a quick and relatively wholesome bite without spending a fortune.

Pet hates include only selling juice in huge posh bottles.

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

Independents around here generally do better food/more interesting menu choices and are really friendly (and are usually happy to let us order off piste if necessary).

That said our kids always like Giraffe and Pizza Express (but not such good value overall and a bit samey).

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

No.

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

Have a really big sign up welcoming breastfeeding - leaves no room for doubt what sort of reaction you'll get from the establishment and deters other customers from being stupid.

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