eating out with kids: order kids meal? regular meal? or just extra plate and give some of your own? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-22-2011, 08:45 PM
 
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I've worked in some "better" places, and I must say that I've never met a chef who is happy to do so. It would be fairly simple to make a kids portion of a pasta dish or something, but a kid's filet of salmon or cut of steak? What would the chef do with the remainder of the portion? It would be wasted and every chef is conscious of food costs.

 

 


I work in a place where people often have special requests that leave a lot of waste.  As far as they know I am happy to do it because that is what I am paid to do.  but the truth is we all cringe when those people come in.  That waste comes out of our paycheck.

 

 

 


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Old 05-22-2011, 09:14 PM
 
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I work in a place where people often have special requests that leave a lot of waste.  As far as they know I am happy to do it because that is what I am paid to do.  but the truth is we all cringe when those people come in.  That waste comes out of our paycheck.

 

 

 

 


I've worked in several nice restaurants (mainly Italian and Japanese) and a chain restaurant and my experience has been exactly the same. The customer won't know it, because I smile and say 'Of course! We'd be happy to do xyz' when the truth is I'm going to walk into the kitchen and annoy the chef. The only place I worked, where the kitchen staff didn't outwardly show annoyance had an open kitchen, where the customers could watch them. If a customer request was too costly we would always pass it on to the customer or say no. Some requests required too much prep work, for example in a pizza place if someone wanted a calzone without onions, the answer had to be no. It takes the pizza guys over an hour, including rising and baking time to put together a calzone so they are made in large batches early in the day.

 


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Old 05-22-2011, 09:21 PM
 
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My oldest (age 10) usually orders an adult meal, the 3 younger kids order off the kiddie menu. It would be rare that anyone shared a plate or didn't order whatever they wanted, including drinks. The exception is when DH and I go out to eat at lunchtime on a weekday right after picking up our preschooler, b/c he eats lunch right before then. He does usually get a drink and side or dessert, though - I feel like we should order him something.

We aren't very frugal when we go out to eat, but I figure it's a treat, so why not go all out. I also tip 30%, and clean up what I can of any mess my kids make.


ETA: all of this is so interesting. Everyone who makes special requests or is upset about their order should read some of these posts (or everyone should have to work a week in a busy restaurant).

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Old 05-22-2011, 09:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post

As the kids grew ---

 

First we took some from our plates. 

 

Kids starting eating more so we would get an appetizer and share our plates. 

 

Kids demanded their own food so we ordered off the kids menu.


That's where we're at right now. Our kids are 7 and 10, and so they are still OK with a kids' menu.

 

Since we go out to eat about 4 times a year, it's not a big deal. I suspect that in about 2-3 years, when ds hits a growth spurt, he's going to start needing an adult portion. But the last time we went out to eat, he had a cup of clam chowder, and then a kids' portion of salmon with fries. He ate all the chowder, most of the salmon and a few of the fries. Dd got a kids' burger and fries and ate all of the fries and 2/3 of the hamburger, and a lot of ketchup. So, even though she's younger, she put away a lot of food.


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Old 05-23-2011, 05:07 AM
 
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It depends. DD is 6 so has a decent sized appetite. If there is something that we want to share, we do that. If not, we get something smaller for DD. We eat healthy at home so doing a kid's meal once in a while is ok...and most of the restaurants we frequent have healthier choices, as well or are willing to sub a side of veggies in place of fries (DD doesn't even like fries). At some places, we construct a meal from appetizers or sides. Even when she gets her own meal, she usually asks for a bit off my or DH's plate if she sees something she likes.

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Old 05-23-2011, 05:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
I don't think it's a matter of being able to, but about wanting to.

 

<snip>
 

Now keep in mind there are many nights where we do $1,000 in sales per hour. The restaurant seats almost 300, there is usually a wait at the door, plus we do take-out. Imagine how many orders are coming in, and consider how many people make special requests. So if you've decided to design your own meal, for whatever reason, and your dish isn't ready when everyone else's is and you have to wait for it....that's why.

 

Special orders slow things down and cause stress on the kitchen. A slow kitchen means guests wait longer to eat. I can understand a restaurateur not wanting to go that route. You have to keep the majority of your clientele happy to be successful in the restaurant business. If the majority of your clientele are families with young children, it makes sense to do kids portions or have a kids menu.

 

 

I know this is kind of getting OT, but the bolded above makes complete sense to me.  In Germany, when a dish is done, they bring it out... whether the others are ready or not.  Everyone gets their food hot, and it's really only a few minutes waiting in between the dishes coming out, but makes all the difference in the world as each dish is fresh and hot.  If the kids' dishes come out last, so be it.  I wish they did that in the US. 

 

When my mom is with us, she is so picky, she tweaks every single component of every single dish (this has to be done like just so-so and that has to be done just so-so).  Because mine is always the straightforward meal, it gets done first, sits in the window and comes out cold.  But if I'm paying $30 for a dish, I do send it back if it arrives at my table cold.  I sympathize with the kitchen staff (I'm the cook at home and can't imagine the stress of a commercial kitchen), but I'd rather them just say "no" to my mom than to say "O.K." and then mess things up.  They won't make smaller portions for dd, so why do any special orders (unless there is an allergy issue).

 

We don't skimp when we go out to eat because it is quite literally our only form of entertainment as a family.  Our bill is always at least $60 for the 3 or 4 of us and often over $100 (a couple of weeks ago we took out some friends that had done us some favors and the bill was $250).  We *enjoy* the dining out experience and take our time.  We are great tippers.  But I do expect that the food for a meal that costs this is going to be hot, cooked properly (I want my $30 filet to be medium, not medium-well and I will say something if it isn't), and that the waiter is attentive to things like giving plenty of time to eat the appetizers and/or soup/salad before bringing out the mains.  I don't mind a slow kitchen if it's done right.
 

 

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Old 05-23-2011, 07:51 AM
 
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I know this is kind of getting OT, but the bolded above makes complete sense to me.  In Germany, when a dish is done, they bring it out... whether the others are ready or not.  Everyone gets their food hot, and it's really only a few minutes waiting in between the dishes coming out, but makes all the difference in the world as each dish is fresh and hot.  If the kids' dishes come out last, so be it


Totally agree with this post but we never encountered the bolded part. In our experience the kids meals were generally served at the same time or frequently 10 to 15 minutes before the adult meals, so the kids could eat and then go play. We did generally go to biergartens with playgrounds or normal restaurants with a play room or at the very least a toy box. I really miss how child friendly the restaurants over there are. It was nice to walk in with a toddler and have the staff act like you brought in their favorite rock star. love.gif


I'm also so jealous of all the people with lots of ethnic options. Most of the time I love living in the middle of nowhere, but the lack of restaurant options is definitely not one of the highlights.

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Old 05-23-2011, 08:04 AM
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 In Germany, when a dish is done, they bring it out... whether the others are ready or not.  Everyone gets their food hot, and it's really only a few minutes waiting in between the dishes coming out, but makes all the difference in the world as each dish is fresh and hot.  If the kids' dishes come out last, so be it.  I wish they did that in the US.


That's how it is in some ethnic restaurants, too. But here in America, everybody is obsessed with the entire party being served at the same time. Lots of people won't start eating until every dish is on the table. And some people will not let you clear away their dirty dishes until every single person at the table is finished eating.

 

As for what ArtsyMomma said about annoying the chef, she's spot on. If you've made a special request and enjoyed your experience, it would be nice if you tipped a little more. Your server probably had to suffer verbal abuse in the kitchen to have your food made the way you like it. I have seen chefs throw dishes and pans, too. Gordon Ramsey's temper and attitude may seem extreme to TV viewers, but it's actually pretty common.

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Old 05-23-2011, 08:34 AM
 
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ETA: all of this is so interesting. Everyone who makes special requests or is upset about their order should read some of these posts (or everyone should have to work a week in a busy restaurant).

 

 

I agree! I worked at two very busy restaurants and the descriptions are absolutely true. 

 


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Old 05-24-2011, 09:12 PM
 
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That's how it is in some ethnic restaurants, too. But here in America, everybody is obsessed with the entire party being served at the same time. Lots of people won't start eating until every dish is on the table. And some people will not let you clear away their dirty dishes until every single person at the table is finished eating.

 

As for what ArtsyMomma said about annoying the chef, she's spot on. If you've made a special request and enjoyed your experience, it would be nice if you tipped a little more. Your server probably had to suffer verbal abuse in the kitchen to have your food made the way you like it. I have seen chefs throw dishes and pans, too. Gordon Ramsey's temper and attitude may seem extreme to TV viewers, but it's actually pretty common.


Yes, lol the good tips really are appreciated! The stories I could tell!! Being a server you walk a fine line between making your customers happy and keeping the kitchen staff from throwing things at you. I've never thought badly of the kitchen staff in the different restaurants I work at - they just don't see things the same way. They aren't out to make the customers happy, and they don't work for tips (most of the time). Their job is just to cook food. Restaurant owners tend to care about the customer satisfaction a lot more than the line cooks, prep guys, etc.

 

One of my all time favorite ridiculous stories: The last place I worked at, I covered the lunch shift - it was just me and one other waitress, one cook, one prep person (who didn't speak english) and two pizza guys. We had sandwiches on the menu - but they rarely got ordered. Whenever someone did order a sandwich, and we put the order through the system you could hear the cook screaming from the kitchen "This isn't Subway!". He really hated making sandwiches, so the servers usually did it instead. A few times, we had our cook just disappear (different guy). His infant son had died, so there were many days we were serving, and preparing the food. We would work so hard, and so fast, and still customers could be so mean.

 


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Old 05-24-2011, 11:53 PM
 
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For me it depends on where we are eating. If it's at the local teriyaki places we frequent with friends she usually gets some of my meal because the portions are huge and they don't really have kid sized selections. If it's at one of the three chains we frequent she orders off the kids menu, but she usually wants to eat some of my meal too. Not because a kid's portion is too small; just because she thinks everything I have is hers too. ;)


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