Adults Ordering Off The Kids Menu

Yesterday night my wife and I were in a restaurant (which I shall be kind enough not to name) and she wasn’t that hungry and wanted to order off the kid’s menu.

They wouldn’t let her do it. I asked politely but was told the kid’s menu was for children under 12. I suppose if I had brought a child in, instead of my wife, he’d be taking up just as much space, but costing the place less anyway.

This is the first time I ran across this before, as she has been allowed to order off the kid’s menu or even the senior’s menu, neither of which she is.

Of course, I was in good humor but she was so mad we left.

Has anyone ever run across this? I mean in a sit down nice restaurant, not McDonalds or Burger Kingo or the like

Just to be clear this was a nice, sit down style restaurant not a greasy spoon or fast food place we went to

My Mom is 4’11 and she always ate the kids food(which we ordered) and we ate her food, which she ordered.

When we got over 12, though, she just started ordering off the regular menu and taking food home.

Anyway, I think adults should be able to order of the kid’s menu.

The explanation I’ve heard is that some restaurants fashion their kids menu such they aren’t really making money off of those items. Presumably, kids will be accompanied by adults and the restaurant can make money there.

Since you were ordering something off the adult menu, you’d think they could treat it like you’re a dad/mom and kid. But policy’s policy, I guess.

ETA: So my answer depends on the restaurant - if their kids menu is a loss-leader, so to speak, I can’t blame them for limiting it to kids.

No restaurant prices food below cost. Ever. Food prices are generally 2.5-4x ingredient cost, so there would need to be serious, serious discounting going on before they ever lost money on it. They might not be able to stay in business if everyone suddenly switched to kids meals, because raw profit generated is generally low, so I suppose you could think of it as a “loss leader” in that respect, but they aren’t losing money.

I’ve worked in restaurants for a while, and I think adults should be able to order off the kid’s menu. It’s a little annoying, because I personally think food on the kid’s menu generally sucks and is for kids, but it’s not really a big deal. The only time I ever order off the kid’s menu is in a Mexican restaurant that all my friends love, but gives me a horribly upset stomach every time I eat it, so I just get the chicken fingers.

The Kid’s Menu is intended for kids. The restaurant wants family business, and may be discounting those meals for that purpose. Restaurants often have plate charges also, which is a way of specificying a minimum purchase.

I used to have a restaurant and senior citizens often ordered the kid’s meals either because it was all they could eat, or afford. I was happy to serve them, but my place was not part of a chain. I could see a larger restaurant or chain establishing a rule.

You wouldn’t expect to get half off the ticket price to see a movie because you wouldn’t appreciate any more than a 12 year old would. It’s somewhat the same.

Yes they do. All the time. You would rather lose a little money on some food than all of the money because you have to throw it away. If you need to get business, you advertise specials, that could be sold at a loss just to get people in the restaurant ordering drinks, appetizers, and desserts. Sometimes just to get people into the restaurant at all, because a full restaurant attracts customers, and empty ones discourage them.

The goal is to have more money at the end of the week than you started with. If the costs of some dishes exceeded their revenue, it doesn’t matter if overall you are ahead in the end.

There needs to be some allowance made for people with small appetites and sometimes the kids’ menu is the only choice.

In the midwest especially, family-style restaurants tend to serve more food than smallish people can eat. Most food doesn’t reheat well, so doggie bags aren’t always a good option.

I guess it depends on what’s on the kids’ menu. Is it food that isn’t available on the regular menu (hot dogs and grilled cheese)? Or is it just smaller portions?

Eh. Each restaurant sets its own policy. My grandmother orders off the kids menu some places and she’s never had a problem. I think I have once or twice when I wasn’t very hungry–I know I’ve never been told that I COULDN’T do it, so I would expect to be able to order from the kids menu most places. If I couldn’t do so, it probably wouldn’t make me swear off the place, but it would definitely lose them points.

Most places I frequent have appetizers or salads that make fine meals for people who aren’t extremely hungry. Or who find the full meals really huge–some patrons apparently don’t feel they get their money’s worth unless their plates are piled high with food. One neighborhood Tex-Mex place has smaller portions for lunch–that are also available for dinner.

So I patronize places with menus that suit me. Most kiddie menus offer weenies & tater tots. No, thanks…

I think that unless the menu or other notice specifically says that kids meals are age-restricted, then an adult customer should be able to order such a meal. Similarly, they should state somewhere the minimum age for senior discounts. That’s the only way to avoid customer disputes.

I agree that ages should be posted, but at the same time, my argument is that if I want to order something that you serve, why do you care what it is? It should make no difference what age I am. If that’s the price-point for that particular dish, then you’ve obviously worked out that it’s good for the business to sell a certain number of them at that price. Why does it matter how old the buyer is?

I have an extremely small appetite, and lots of foods I don’t prefer to eat. Children’s/Seniors’ menus are a salvation to me.

To my mind they aren’t helping themselves any by restricting it.

I am a customer, and if satisfied, I’ll be a regular customer. I eat with friends, usually groups of us, and everyone besides me has a normal appetite.

There are two options.

Serve me the food I want and make money off of me and my party, now and in the future.

Refuse to serve me the food I want and don’t make ANY money from me or my party, ever.

Where on earth is the business gain in the second policy?

Kid’s meals are a lot smaller than the regular stuff. So all this talk about the restaurant losing profits because it’s charging less ignores the fact that smaller amounts of fewer ingredients are used. And as someone who prefers to eat frequent, small meals, count me as another one who orders kid’s/senior’s whenever possible (I’m 31) and wishes the chain/family restaurants would start offering more non-gargantuan options.

I voted no. I don’t know the ins and outs of how restaurants price their children’s menus, but I would imagine it’s priced with the expectation of adults paying ‘full price’.

If you’re not hungry, you can just eat half the stuff on your plate. They won’t lock you inside the restaurant until your plate is clean.

No it isn’t. At all. If the kid got the same meal, then you could argue that. They don’t. They give the kids less food and charge less. The idea that they are giving the child a discount because of their age is ridiculous. If they really were just giving kids a discount, you could buy the food off the kids menu for a higher price. If the kid got a smaller movie, then I would argue that adults should have the right to go see said movie.

Oh, and plate charges suck. Only the uber pious people seem to ever get them. People at my church won’t even pay for them. It’s seriously misunderstanding your customers if you think they give a crap about your financial hardships. If someone is trying to buy food off the kids menu, their finances must not be in the best of shape, or they’d be able to waste the food.

I’ll point out that every chain I’ve been to allows you to buy less food. The ones that actually did well in this recession are the ones that people do not feel are ripping them off. No one cares how much money you make on the food.

BTW: my choice is Other: Only if they do not offer the exact same meal on the adult menu.

Don’t be such a cheapskate. Order off the regular menu and take the leftovers home or throw them away.

One, lots of people are broke in this economy, so calling names and tellling people specifically to order something more expensive and containing more food than what they want* and then waste it *isn’t at all helpful, and actually comes across as rather dickish.

Two, for a lot of meals, the leftovers aren’t of the type that can be easily taken home and reheated, so that doesn’t give you a pass either.

Try again.

People who patronize a restaurant should be able to order whatever they want from the menu. Management should be aware that restrictions aren’t good for their word-of-mouth reputation. I would have walked out.

Because the restaurant is in the business of feeding adults, and any kids they happen to feed along the way are treated as extras? I’ve seen some restaurants that, under certain circumstances, advertise that Kids eat free with a paying adult.

Restaurants don’t sell goods; they sell services. Kids’ meals may well be priced the way they are, not because that’s the price-point for that particular dish, but because that’s the price-point for serving that type of customer.

The cost of their ingredients (unless those ingredients are particularly pricey) is a relatively small proportion of the restaurant’s overall costs; and reducing the portion size of a dish doesn’t really save the restuarant all that much money. At least, that’s the way I understand it; I’m not in the restaurant business.
So anyway, my answer to the OP’s question is: It depends on the restaurant’s policy, and there are good arguments for them to do it either way. If the restaurant says it’s okay, it’s okay. If not, accept their age restriction and don’t make a fuss about it.

Some places let me, others don’t. I always ask unless the menu is really specific. Some menus state it’s only for children under 12, others just day Children’s Menu.