Australian Dining Inspiring Connoisseurs of Tomorrow

Are the next generation of foodies already here? New research from OpenTable’s Australian team has revealed over a third (39%) of parents consider their children to be ‘foodies’, and nearly one in three parents (30%) admit their children favour fine dining over fast food.

Likely inspired by the increasing diversity of cuisine choices and the booming Australian dining scene, it would seem that today’s youngsters have a palate that’s just as adventurous as their parents.

“Every day we see more and more parents and their kids coming into our establishments for a family meal, many of whom are ordering dishes for their little ones from the adult menus. It’s fascinating to see mature palates from such a young age; across the board, our young diners are open to new delicacies and are becoming connoisseurs in their own right” – John Fink, Creative Director at FINK Group

The majority of Australian mums and dads (75%) revealed that when dining out, their kids prefer to order from the adult menu rather than the specific children’s menu. The research also showed the average Aussie child has dined at a hatted restaurant at least twice in their life.

What does it mean for restaurants?

Family fine dining is becoming something of a phenomenon across Australia. Dining out is no longer a date night just for mum and dad, with nearly one in five (18%) parents eating out at a restaurant with their children at least once a week. Three in four (74%) parents say their children eat out more often than they did growing up.

Putting their money where their mouth is – or in this case, where their children’s mouths are – almost a quarter (24%) of Aussie parents are willing to spend over $26 on a meal for their child when they dine out.  While many parents plan to stop paying for their children’s meals once they turn 18, others are more generous with more than a third (35%) declaring they will always shout their children to a meal out, regardless of their age.

State-based findings from OpenTable’s Gourmet Kids Report:

NSW/ACT

  • Almost half (46%) of NSW parents consider their children to be foodies
  • NSW children are leading the pack when it comes to fine-dining, with one-third of NSW children (33%) preferring fine-dining over fast food
  • Almost half (49%) of NSW children have dined at a hatted restaurant at least once
  • Dining out is a family affair in NSW – 40% of NSW parents dine out with their children three or more times per month
  • NSW parents are generous when it comes to paying for their children’s meals with almost two-fifths (39%) happy to shout them, no matter their age
  • Top three dishes for children in NSW/ACT are: sushi (49%), smashed eggs on toast (42%) and macaroons (41%)

VIC/TAS

  • Almost two-fifths (37%) of parents in VIC and TAS consider their children to be foodies
  • More than half (53%) of children in VIC/TAS have dined at a hatted restaurant at least once
  • Dining out is a family affair in VIC/TAS – almost two-fifths (38%) of VIC/TAS parents dine out with their children three or more times per month
  • One-third (33%) of VIC/TAS parents say they will always pay for their children’s meals, regardless of their age
  • Top three dishes for children in VIC and TAS are: sushi (44%), macaroons (33%) and smashed eggs on toast (30%)

QLD

  • Almost two-fifths (37%) of QLD parents consider their children to be foodies
  • More than two in five (46%) QLD children have dined at a hatted restaurant at least once
  • One-quarter (25%) of QLD parents say they will always pay for their children’s meals
  • Top three dishes for children in QLD are: sushi (52%), smashed eggs (36%) and macaroons (33%)

SA

  • More than one-third (36%) of SA parents consider their children to be foodies
  • More than one-third (35%) of SA children have dined at a hatted restaurant at least once
  • Over one-third (35%) of SA parents say they will always pay for their children’s meals
  • Top three dishes for children in SA are: sushi (49%), smashed eggs on toast (47%) and macaroons (43%). These dishes were closely followed by veal (34%) and kangaroo (34%)

WA

  • Almost one in four (24%) WA parents consider their children to be foodies
  • More than two in five (45%) WA children have dined at a hatted restaurant at least once
  • Almost one-third (30%) of WA kids dine out with their parents 3 or more times a month but it is a special occasion for most, with 42% dining out with their parents just once each month
  • When it comes to shouting their kids a feed, WA parents are the most generous – 43% say they will always pay for their children’s meals when they dine out
  • Top four dishes for children in WA are: sushi (54%), macaroons (46%), wagyu beef (41%) and smashed eggs on toast (41%)

The Gourmet Kids research was commissioned by OpenTable and conducted by Galaxy Research in October 2016. A sample size of 1265 respondents was surveyed across Australia.

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