THERE ARE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF FOOD BLOGS, BUT ONLY ONE CULINARY NO-NO! EVERY SUNDAY!
Have I ever told you that our 8-year old daughter, Kyla, isn’t all that fussy when it comes to eating?
There are a couple of items she won’t go near. Mac and cheese, for example. Can’t figure that one out.
But it’s amazing how adventurous she can be for an 8-year old.
I’ve written about our visits to…
The California Grill high atop the Contemporary Resort at Disney World.
Kyla loves to help Daddy finish his crispy rock shrimp salad.
That would be your Asian pear, red onions, soy reduction, and wasabi cream, and yes, it has a kick to it.
The kids menu at the California Grill:
Citrus-glazed Grilled Chicken Breast with Steamed Green Beans, Crushed Sweet Potatoes, and Seasonal Fruit Kabobs with Freshly Made Yogurt Dip. Choice of Small Lowfat Milk or Small Dasani® Water. Meets Disney Nutrition Guildelines for Complete Meals without substitution
Seared Wild Salmon with Steamed Green Beans, Brown Basmati Rice, and Seasonal Fruit Kabobs with Freshly Made Yogurt Dip. Choice of Small Lowfat Milk or Small Dasani® Water. Meets Disney Nutrition Guildelines for Complete Meals without substitution
Grilled Beef Tenderloin
Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Steamed Green Beans, Crushed Sweet Potatoes, Ketchup Sauce, and Seasonal Fruit Kabobs with Freshly Made Yogurt Dip. Choice of Small Lowfat Milk or Small Dasani® Water. Meets Disney Nutrition Guidelines for Complete Meals without substitution
Hand-formed Provolone Cheese Pizza – served with choice of Small Lowfat Milk, Small Dasani® Water, or Small Minute Maid® Apple Juice
House-made Macaroni & Cheese – served with choice of Small Lowfat Milk, Small Dasani® Water, or Small Minute Maid® Apple Juice
Care to guess what Kyla orders?
It ain’t fish or fowl.
Closer to home Kyla loves the menu at Meyer’s, well over a dozen choices. She can order chocolate chip pancakes or Meyer’s famous…
Speaking of chicken, the strips for kids are nice at The Cheesecake Factory.
At Panera there are lots of possibilities for Kyla. Usually it comes down to…
OK. We usually bury the no-no with an extended lead-up. This week it’s plain and simple.With not enough exceptions, restaurant children’s menus are normally scanty, boring, bland, and all too similar.
From a strictly business perspective, one could argue by should restaurants cater to the kids? Bob Goldin, a partner at the food industry consulting firm Pentallect, claims kids’ orders comprise only about 1% to 2% of sales. Thus the blasé attitude toward beefing up menus for the little ones.
That’s about to change, at least in some quarters.
“For too long, restaurants in America have served menus full of nutritionally empty chicken nuggets, pizza and fries, paired with sugary drinks and cheap toys,” said Panera CEO Ron Shaich said this past week.
Shaich’s comment is consistent with a statement he made in August 2016 when he issued a ‘Kids Meal Promise.’
“We shouldn’t be marketing to kids. Toys and games distract from honest food choices. They come with poor options like fries and sugary beverages. This is not food as it should be. The meals we serve our children should be good food. Real options and food that is free of artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors and colors from artificial sources.”
Panera promised the restaurant kids’ meals would be:
- Clean. No artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners or colors from artificial sources.
- Worthy of trust. No gimmicks. No distractions. No cartoon characters, crazy colors, toys, or toy-shaped food.
- Full of delicious options. Let kids be kids. Let them be picky. Let them make their own choices from a menu full of tasty, wholesome options.
- Nutritiously paired. Growing bodies need a meal complete with nutritious sides. Not fries, not onion rings. Options like organic yogurt, sprouted grain rolls, or apples.
- Drink optional. Kids meals shouldn’t encourage kids to drink a sugary beverage. Ours never have, never will. Water first, then the option of adding organic milk or 100% juice.
On Wednesday Panera Bread announced a new approach to kids food—children can choose almost any item on the Panera menu as a smaller sized entree, resulting in more than 250 clean menu combinations. More than 250 clean kids meal combinations are available in Panera cafes as well as via all of Panera’s end-to-end digital pathways, including Rapid Pickup, Fast Lane Kiosks and Delivery. Each option is fully customizable.
That’s not all. Panera issued more than just a massively-revised menu.
“I’m challenging the CEOs of some of the largest companies in the industry—McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s—to personally eat exclusively from their restaurants’ kids meals for an entire week—and if not, to take a thoughtful look at what they are offering our smallest guests,” said CEO Shaich.
The recipients of his challenge would be wise to consider.
“If you don’t offer something relevant to a family with kids, generally, you won’t get that family with kids inside that restaurant,” said Bob Derrington, senior research analyst at the Telsey Advisory Group.