Yes is the answer, what's the question?

As a baby boomer who is creeping up on 50 years old it is amazing that dining out has become a way of life for most people in this day and age. Growing up, going out to dinner was an occasional event that was very exciting; now it is just common place in society. 

Now that I've stated the completely obvious why hasn't most of the restaurant industry caught on to the fact that families are dining out? Mom, Dad and the children. Most restaurant do an average job of catering to families. 

Yes, they have their children's menus, but you can go into almost any restaurant, close your eyes, open the children's menu, and recite what's on it and when you open your eyes you may be off by one item. It's time to be more creative with menus for children. How about including a children's selection as part of your daily specials?

My wife and I were out one night with our two children at a local restaurant and my daughter wanted fettuccine Alfredo, but all they had was an adult portion. When I asked the waitress if they could do a children's portion, the answer she came back with was from manager was no. 

Being a parent and not wanting to have a child meltdown we ordered the larger meal. As a 30 year veteran of the restaurant industry I find this type of response unacceptable. The price level for children's portions at some restaurants is out of line considering what they're serving and especially when they don't include the beverage, come on!

There are exceptions out there to this problem – you know who you are, and you should be proud that you take the time to take care of the little ones. A happy child means a happy parent which will garner return business and probably a nice tip for your serving staff. So when ordering something for your children, remember: Yes should be the answer and what's the question?

Steve Novak lives in Westlake.
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Volume 2, Issue 9, Posted 3:56 PM, 01.29.2010