Restaurants Look For Ways To Attract The Kiddies

Not only are chain restaurants dangling "kids-eat-free" deals in front of recession-battered consumers, as we first re-reported last week, they are also luring the little shavers and their parents by dangling such delectables as broccoli and carrots, Julie Jargon reports. We'll be following that trend closely.

And this summer, P.F. Chang's China Bistro and The Cheesecake Factory both added their first-ever kids menus to make parents feel like children were welcome. "We looked across our business and it was a spot we weren't tapping," says P.F. Chang COO Rick Tasman. He says 10 to 15 items have been ordered from the menu per store each day compared with one or two per store a day during the same time last year.

The new menu includes such entrees as the Baby Buddha's Feast, which contains steamed or stir-fried snap peas, carrots and broccoli, and kids lo mein, or egg noodles stir-fried with chicken. "We were never going to do hot dogs, French fries or peanut butter," says Tasmin. It's not alone in moving toward healthier fare for kids -- even IHOP now offers a tilapia fillet for kids that's served with steamed broccoli and a kids fresh fruit dish, Jargon writes.
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