Kid Diners are “Growing Up”

Young diners pick their own meals and talk maturely about where they dine, what they like to eat and why, finds Y-Pulse, a Chicago-based research firm. 

While choosing the restaurant is often a family decision, kids most frequently choose their own meals when dining out. In fact, 78 percent say they choose their own meals, whether they select from adult menus or kids menus, according to the study of 500 young people across the United States.

The survey also revealed that the majority of 8- and 9-year-olds prefer to order from the kids menu, while 10-year-olds are split evenly between kids and adult menus. The vast majority of 11- to 13–year-olds said they liked the food choices on the adult menu better than those on the kids menu. This group also looks for higher quality foods that are healthier, and they like being able to customize their orders, Y-Pulse found.

Child diners favor quick-serve restaurants most, with 63 percent saying they "love" these restaurants, up 15 percent from 2010. When dining at home, kids say they like "knowing what's in the food," and they prefer food that "tastes homemade" and is "always fresh." When dining out, kids were more likely to note the experience — eliciting such comments such as "it's relaxing," they "liked being served" and they like "sitting down with family."

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