The Morning Advertiser recently posed the question to pubs through a poll. Of all 327 respondents, 75% believed it was acceptable for adults to choose food from the children’s menu. A quarter (25%), on the other were of the opinion that it was not.
Chefs and guests alike flocked to social media to voice their opinion. The response from associate director Steve Burnley, was “yeah, why not.” He added: “I've had significant internal surgery and I can't physically consume an adult portion. No matter how much I ask not to pile it on, the plate comes out with loads of food on and gets wasted.”
Maybe, added photographer Alex Micu, pubs should be offering light meals under £10. “Most pubs are missing quite a few tricks,” he said, “and yes, I know it’s hard out there.”
Striking a balance
But others begged to differ. This included Richard Johns, operator at the Hovingham Inn, York, Yorkshire, who did not think it was acceptable. On Twitter, the Top 50 Gastropub licensee shared his two cents: “Just request a smaller portion. Better still, don't bother with a kid’s menu. Most are cop-out, filled with crap choices.
“Always found giving kid’s smaller portions off a properly thought-out menu to be so much more beneficial. Kids are our future.”
For Brendan Padfield, owner of the Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, Suffolk, there was a delicate balance to be struck.
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.”
Taking the mick
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.
For London-based food blogger Kar-Shing Tong, it was taking the mick a bit. “I’m sure there is a fair bit of subsidising between the adult and kid’s menu with the expectation that a kid isn’t going to a pub alone,” he said.
Others made light of the situation. “Alphabet bites and beans for you washed down with a pint,” quipped Yorkshire-based rock band Reverend & the Makers on Twitter.
Adults can order kid’s options, added, writer Gary Bainbridge, “but they should be forced to play in the Wacky Warehouse ball pool immediately after finishing their meal and not allowed in the bar area.”