Queensland parents want kids at ‘fine dining’
Exclusive: Some of Australia's popular fine dining restaurants are opening up their doors to children, after a majority of parents have said they want to expose their kids to adult food.
New research from Hot Wheels in partnership with YouGov Galaxy obtained by News Corp revealed 65 per cent of parents would love to take their kids to a fancier restaurant - but are too nervous.
The data, which surveyed more than 1000 parents with kids aged between 3-12, found 46 per cent would feel anxious about how their children would behave and 37 per cent say they would feel insecure about other diners judging them.
Four in 10 parents said the "electronic babysitter" (smartphones, tablets and gaming devices) is the most effective solution for entertaining them.
But 30 per cent said a colouring-in book was their distraction of choice, followed by a toy (19 per cent).
Most parents said they eat out at casually dine at restaurants, cafes or fast food outlets between three to four times a month.
NSW parents (49 per cent) were more likely than those in Queensland (38 per cent) to say having a dedicated family section or reserved family time in a restaurant would make the challenge of eating out less stressful.
In Victoria, 33 per cent of parents said a venue with comfortable seating for children and adjustable high chairs help them the most when dining out.
Melbourne chefs Charlie Carrington from Atlas Dining, Coskun Uysal of Tulum fame and Guy Stanaway from Jackalope Hotel have now teamed up to create family dining in their restaurants for the first time.
Each chef, whose restaurant is currently ranked in delicious.com.au's top 100 list in Victoria, are calling on their Australian peers to follow suit.
They are all putting on a special Hot Wheels menu at their restaurants from Tuesday which involves a special place mat featuring a racetrack inspired by the restaurant. They will also provide toy cars kids can play with on their tables.
ARC Dining & Ciao Papi's Venue Manager Tom Torchut in Brisbane told News Corp they cater for children with their Club Bambino menu, which is part of their dinner menu.
But they are looking at creating a dedicated kids menu with activities.
"We consider ourselves less of a fine dining venue, and more of a premium casual space that parents can come to and experience new foods with their kids," he said.
"While we don't have a dedicated kids menu just yet, that's something we're working on, and we're considering introducing colouring in to make it a more engaging space for children."
Cristal and Chris Fysentzou from Mansfield take their daughters Andrea, 10, and Sophia, 8, out once a week at a casual dining option like Westfield Garden City.
But Mrs Fysentzou said they would take their children to fine dining restaurants that were "family-friendly".
"The kids menu at places is fine, and usually has things they can eat like pizza, pasta or fish and chips, but it can get a bit restricting," she said.
"We like Asian cuisine, and like to try and mix up so we can broaden their appetite and their palate."
But she said any fine dining options would need to be affordable.
"When you have a family of four and my eldest daughter Andrea is now looking at other parts of the menu, not just the kids section, it all adds up when they are eating adult meals," she said.