In an effort to rise above the competition and to show their sensitivity to the demand for healthier menu options, more restaurants may soon be marketing new and improved kids’ menus. The change from pushing the tried, true and inexpensive chicken tenders and mac-and-cheese favorites is based on a survey carried out jointly by Technomic and C3. It turns out that at least ¾’s of kids know that salad, steamed vegetables and eggs are healthy.380913_afternoon_snack_2

The survey finds that many restaurants are already offering salads on the kids’ menu. Younger children more frequently opt for fruit salads on the side while older kids will order vegetable salads. And restaurants also making big changes to the beverage line for kids as well as listing more menu items as organic or natural.

Apparently, moms are still sold on quick-serve restaurants as being more kid friendly than most fast-casual restaurants. The first set of criteria for moms when making a restaurant selection includes food quality, cleanliness, consistently good service and price.  However, the survey found that “not seeing healthful options would negatively affect their perception of the restaurant” for over 4 in 10 moms of 2-5 year olds.  This attitude may lead restaurant owners, especially fast-casual operators, to begin actively marketing healthy options for the younger set.

[Sources: Bentley, Ashley, The Packer, 8.7.2009; Technomic release 8.5.09]