We visited a family oriented restaurant over the weekend and I got insanely frustrated that – once again – our daughter’s meal was served on a burn-your-skin-if-you-touch-it plate. Moms, are you with me on this?
We’re fortunate that our little eater isn’t a terribly picky one. She’s happy sharing our entrees, but we sometimes order her food off the kids menu. Putting aside my opinions about the lacking food choices on many kids menus, I want to focus on the plate itself … and perhaps a few other restaurant pet peeves.
WHY DO THEY BRING OUT THE KIDS’ FOOD ON SCALDING HOT PLATES?
I appreciate the server’s stern warning that “this plate is extremely hot”. But I can’t figure out why anyone thinks it’s a good idea to place a burning hot plate in front of a small child. Their little hands move fast. Once my daughter sees food, she wants to dig right in. Not only is it unsafe, it’s almost cruel. As one mom told me, “I really don’t think it’s safe to serve food as hot as they do for children. My kids are chomping at the bit for their pizza or spaghetti when it arrives and it’s too hot!” My friend Kelly said, “I get so mad when her food is hot! That is my number one restaurant pet peeve as a mom. To me, that’s common sense when serving kids. I won’t hesitate to tell them to take it right back and pop it in the freezer for five minutes.”
I appreciate that most restaurants are very accommodating to small children. It’s rare that we go anywhere that doesn’t offer high-chairs, booster seats, changing tables, kids’ menus and crayons. All of this is truly great, but since it’s an eating establishment, their main priority should be food service.
I just wish that more restaurants would seriously consider the safety of their young customers. If you’re the cook preparing an item off the kids’ menu, you know it’s being served to a child. Don’t put the meal on such a hot plate, please.
HOW ABOUT A SIDE ORDER OF CARELESSNESS?
I have a couple other restaurant gripes I’ll share while I’m at it. My friend Deilia brings up another safety complaint that I can identify with. She and her husband are coffee drinkers and she told me, “It never fails that the server holds the pot over my kids while refilling the cups! As a result, we sit them on the inside so it’s less likely to happen but when they were babies, and in highchairs, this was a big problem. I’ve told so many servers to watch it!”
Another complaint of mine is when they serve my daughter beverages that are so full the liquids are spilling over the top (And this even is after we’ve asked the server to only bring a half-filled cup). It’s just a mess for all of us to clean up.
TREAT KIDS FOOD LIKE APPETIZERS!
Here’s another one: bring out the kids’ food first! After all, a full mouth makes it harder for kids to be noisy. Some restaurants are smart and whip out the kids’ meals right away, but I’ve been to a few places where our daughter’s food has been the last plate to arrive. Once it took so long that we actually canceled the order as we’d already finished our meals. Here’s a positive, though, I really appreciate restaurants that bring out a special little snack for the kids to keep them occupied until their meal arrives.
Another mom pet peeve came from Samantha who told me, “The one thing that has irked me lately is a restaurant that is selling cookies for breast cancer awareness and has the cookies on the table when you sit down! How do you explain that to your kids? But it’s for a good cause so you can’t complain to the manager!” Yes, Samantha, I’m totally with you on this one. I sometimes avoid certain restaurants that have cookies at the cash register. My daughter becomes obsessed with the cookies and has goes into toddler rage until we give her a cookie and then she doesn’t want to eat her meal.
SQUIRMING AND WIGGLING FROM START TO FINISH.
Yeah, yeah. Perhaps you’re thinking that I’m a whiny mom who should just eat at home with her kid. The truth is that we rarely eat out. I don’t like imposing a hungry, noisy child on others, but sometimes it’s unavoidable and we find ourselves at a restaurant.
Maybe my family should face the reality that little kids and restaurants just don’t seem to be a good mix in general. We go out to dinner with such optimism only to kick ourselves under the table for forgetting that two-year-olds just don’t make good dinner dates.
What are your gripes about restaurants? Or small children at restaurants? Or about moms that take their kids to restaurants? Or moms that complain about restaurants?