Should adults be able to order from the kids' menu?

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Making a meal of it: Pubs torn on the ethics of adults ordering kid's food (credit: Getty/Rawpixel)
Making a meal of it: Pubs torn on the ethics of adults ordering kid's food (credit: Getty/Rawpixel)

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Operators and customers have debated whether adults should be able to order from the children’s menu: some slam the behaviour as unacceptable, with others viewing it as no big deal.

With gastropubs across the country looking to premiumise their kid’s offering​, meals for children are becoming higher-quality​ and more sustainable. But is it okay if adults want to eat them?

Gordon Stott, head chef at the Purefoy Arms in Preston Candover, Hampshire, said, on rare occasions, adults could order from the children’s menu if they didn’t have much of an appetite. This included elderly customers.

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Kids' portions at the gastropub consisted of half portions of the adult alternative. The price reflected the size of the meal – it was half the cost for half the portion.

For Brendan Padfield, owner of the Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, Suffolk, there was a delicate balance​ to be struck.

Tight margins

He said: “To put things in perspective, if a majority of adult customers ordered from the kid’s menu with kid’s pricing, then we would have to close our doors:​ we would make no money, as generally there is a low margin return on children’s meals.”

Due to this, the pub stated on the children’s menu that it was for guests aged 12 and under. However, if an adult just fancied a kid’s Spaghetti Bolognese, then staff would be pragmatic by doubling the portion but also the price.

However, he added, there were a few customers, particularly some elderly customers, who had small appetites.  So, if they ordered a kids' roast, for instance, then they would only charge the kids' price.

'Eat like an adult'

Customers, however, took a different stance. Public relations consultant, Francesca Baker, has anorexia. As someone who would “never in a million years” eat an adult portion, she appreciated places that would let her choose children’s portions.

Public relations consultant Emma Holgate-Lowe added her two cents: “Most kids meals are the price of a starter, and no one sniffs at two starters.”

However the Barrington Boar in Ilminster, Somerset, put it rather differently. The pub said: “Not sure it’s completely the correct, most hospitable response but come on, you are taken up an adult seat, eat like one!”

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