Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Sarah
    • By MSE Sarah 16th Apr 19, 12:51 PM
    • 183Posts
    • 80Thanks
    MSE Sarah
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I pay for food from the kids' menu?
    • #1
    • 16th Apr 19, 12:51 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I pay for food from the kids' menu? 16th Apr 19 at 12:51 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    When I take my two-year-old into cafes and restaurants I bring food from outside for her, and it's never been an issue with staff. But at what age does this become morally dubious, given she does now eat most of the food you find on the kids' menu?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer Money Moral Dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

    If you havenít already, join the forum to reply.

    Got a money moral dilemma of your own? Suggest an MMD.
    This Forum tip was included in MoneySavingExpert.com's weekly email!

    Follow MSE on other Social Media:
    MSE Facebook, MSE Twitter, MSE Deals Facebook, MSE Deals Twitter, Forum Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
    Join the MSE Forum
    Get the Free MoneySavingExpert Money Tips E-mail
    Report inappropriate posts: click the report button
    Point out a rate/product change
    Flag a news story: news@moneysavingexpert.com
Page 1
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 16th Apr 19, 1:00 PM
    • 22,144 Posts
    • 59,771 Thanks
    Pollycat
    • #2
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:00 PM
    • #2
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:00 PM
    When I take my two-year-old into cafes and restaurants I bring food from outside for her, and it's never been an issue with staff. But at what age does this become morally dubious, given she does now eat most of the food you find on the kids' menu?
    Originally posted by MSE Sarah
    If she eats most of the food found on kids' menus, you should order from that.
    • sheramber
    • By sheramber 16th Apr 19, 1:15 PM
    • 6,188 Posts
    • 4,674 Thanks
    sheramber
    • #3
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:15 PM
    • #3
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:15 PM
    You don't bring your own food to eat so why bring your child's?
    • gettingtheresometime
    • By gettingtheresometime 16th Apr 19, 1:25 PM
    • 4,534 Posts
    • 11,605 Thanks
    gettingtheresometime
    • #4
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:25 PM
    • #4
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:25 PM
    I read the dilemma as the writer previously took food for her daughter as the child's menu was unsuitable but now the menu contains suitable food.


    My take on it is that provided the writer bought food in the caf! to eat for herself and didn't expect the caf! to provide cutlery or plates for the daughter's food then I can't see there being too much of a problem.


    Having said that I'm a strong believer in that we get the high street we're prepared to pay for.
    Lloyds OD / Natwest OD / PO CC / Wescott / Argos Card cleared thanks to the 1 debt v 100 day challenge


    Next on the list - JD Williams
    • kathrynha
    • By kathrynha 16th Apr 19, 1:26 PM
    • 2,349 Posts
    • 12,840 Thanks
    kathrynha
    • #5
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:26 PM
    • #5
    • 16th Apr 19, 1:26 PM
    Once you're past the weaning stage you should feed your child off the menu, whether that is from your plate initially, or their own food.


    Even then, if a place had baby food available, I would have bought from the place once my child was old enough.
    Weight loss start date: 3rd January 2017
    Weight loss total: 49 lb
    Last updated: 27th November 2018
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 16th Apr 19, 2:30 PM
    • 7,223 Posts
    • 9,461 Thanks
    TBagpuss
    • #6
    • 16th Apr 19, 2:30 PM
    • #6
    • 16th Apr 19, 2:30 PM
    I think at the point where there are things on the menu shewill eat, you order from the menu.

    I don't think it would be unreasonable to have something small, such as a piece of fruit, available to offer her, if you are concerned that the food won't come out fast enough - giving her a bit of banana or some grapes while you wait for your order to come out, to avoid having a fractious child, is probably in everyone's interests.
    • Mac9091
    • By Mac9091 16th Apr 19, 9:00 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Mac9091
    • #7
    • 16th Apr 19, 9:00 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Apr 19, 9:00 PM
    Couple of options.

    A. Take along your own food but go to the park instead of a cafe.

    B. Keep doing as you are until the cafe has a problem with it, then either start buying food from there, find another cafe or go with option A.

    I regularly visit coffee shops when out cycling however I generally eat the stuff I bring with me rather than buying Thiers.
    • LilElvis
    • By LilElvis 16th Apr 19, 9:50 PM
    • 4,266 Posts
    • 11,343 Thanks
    LilElvis
    • #8
    • 16th Apr 19, 9:50 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Apr 19, 9:50 PM
    Couple of options.

    A. Take along your own food but go to the park instead of a cafe.

    B. Keep doing as you are until the cafe has a problem with it, then either start buying food from there, find another cafe or go with option A.

    I regularly visit coffee shops when out cycling however I generally eat the stuff I bring with me rather than buying Thiers.
    Originally posted by Mac9091
    Or go to one of the chain restaurants that have offers where "kids eat for £1" when an adult is paying for a meal. Apps readily available on all smart phones.
    • happyinflorida
    • By happyinflorida 16th Apr 19, 10:31 PM
    • 762 Posts
    • 647 Thanks
    happyinflorida
    • #9
    • 16th Apr 19, 10:31 PM
    • #9
    • 16th Apr 19, 10:31 PM
    You ask what age does it become morally dubious. Personally I don't think it's to do with age so much.

    Many places to eat are probably used to children having allergies or being fussy so people might bring in food for them to eat whilst the adult eats from the menu.

    However you don't say why you're still doing this.

    So my answer depends on why you're doing it.


    Do you want your child to eat the food you provide because you think it's healthier and you're worried about them having bad food containing god knows what?

    Or is for financial reasons? You can afford to eat but not to buy your child food as well.

    Personally I think it's ok to continue bringing food for your child as long as the place is ok with you doing this.

    One of mine when young suffered from food allergies for years, I'd just say to the person taking our order that mine was having food brought with us due to allergies and we never had a problem. I think with the big hoo haa made nowadays over places being fined if anything supplied causes illness, most places would rather not supply food just in case, to avoid any problems.

    It's your choice really. Do whatever you're happy doing.
    • merixmas
    • By merixmas 17th Apr 19, 8:05 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    merixmas
    In my experience your child will soon insist on ordering from the menu and refuse food brought in. Then the next shock is when you realise they can read the menu so you can't 'edit' it, as in 'they don't have any fizzy drinks!'.
    • JayD
    • By JayD 17th Apr 19, 8:27 AM
    • 529 Posts
    • 334 Thanks
    JayD
    Now that your child is able to eat from the menu - and assuming that the items on it are things you are happy for her to eat - then I think you should be buying her meals alongside your own.


    Not only is this morally the right thing to do - after all, you are sharing the facilities with your daughter, even if she doesn't use any of their cutlery or crockery. Also, isn't it much more about sharing the eating out experience with her, rather than excluding her from it?
    • Cimscate
    • By Cimscate 17th Apr 19, 8:54 AM
    • 133 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    Cimscate
    If you can afford it....
    Well, it seems to me that if you can afford to eat out frequently then you can afford to buy your daughters meal as well. The only exception to that would be if she is on a special diet but there is no indication of that. Otherwise just make a picnic for both of you!
    • newbs68
    • By newbs68 17th Apr 19, 2:22 PM
    • 18 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    newbs68
    Of course you should. Bringing her own food as a baby or is she had special requirements which the cafe/restaurant can't meet is fine but if she can eat their food, she should.
    The restaurant owners have to make a living as well. You'll start getting funny looks soon.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 17th Apr 19, 2:35 PM
    • 22,144 Posts
    • 59,771 Thanks
    Pollycat
    When I take my two-year-old into cafes and restaurants I bring food from outside for her, and it's never been an issue with staff. But at what age does this become morally dubious, given she does now eat most of the food you find on the kids' menu?
    Originally posted by MSE Sarah
    The OP asked this ^^^^ question:
    Now that your child is able to eat from the menu - and assuming that the items on it are things you are happy for her to eat - then I think you should be buying her meals alongside your own.


    Not only is this morally the right thing to do - after all, you are sharing the facilities with your daughter, even if she doesn't use any of their cutlery or crockery. Also, isn't it much more about sharing the eating out experience with her, rather than excluding her from it?
    Originally posted by JayD
    and I think ^^^^ this covers it.
    • gettingtheresometime
    • By gettingtheresometime 17th Apr 19, 3:05 PM
    • 4,534 Posts
    • 11,605 Thanks
    gettingtheresometime
    Just to throw a little curve ball into the mix what about taking food & drink to the cinema?
    Lloyds OD / Natwest OD / PO CC / Wescott / Argos Card cleared thanks to the 1 debt v 100 day challenge


    Next on the list - JD Williams
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 17th Apr 19, 3:16 PM
    • 22,144 Posts
    • 59,771 Thanks
    Pollycat
    Just to throw a little curve ball into the mix what about taking food & drink to the cinema?
    Originally posted by gettingtheresometime
    Not the same.
    You go to the cinema predominantly to watch a film, not to eat & drink.
    When you go to a cafe or restaurant, you go to consume food & drink.
    • engineer amy
    • By engineer amy 17th Apr 19, 3:21 PM
    • 683 Posts
    • 1,214 Thanks
    engineer amy
    I view that quite differently. Going to a caf! or restaurant, the primary purpose is to eat or drink, so you should be buying their products as this is (usually) their sole source of income. And the cost of meals is based on the ingredients, the cost of the staff wages in making it and the electric, overheads etc.


    The primary purpose of the cinema is to view a movie. Snacks and drinks are additional products offered by the cinema, often at a massive mark up. These are an "added extra option", and you can purchase the same or similar products much cheaper at a nearby shop. The cost of running the cinema should be accounted for in the cost of the movie ticket, not made up by the concession stand.
    Mortgage = £113,495 (May 2009) £68601.81 Jan 2019
    Halifax CC 0% = £0!!! Car Loan = £0!!!!!
    PAYDBX16 #106 = 12377/12377 (100%)
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 17th Apr 19, 3:31 PM
    • 22,144 Posts
    • 59,771 Thanks
    Pollycat
    I view that quite differently. Going to a caf! or restaurant, the primary purpose is to eat or drink, so you should be buying their products as this is (usually) their sole source of income. And the cost of meals is based on the ingredients, the cost of the staff wages in making it and the electric, overheads etc.


    The primary purpose of the cinema is to view a movie. Snacks and drinks are additional products offered by the cinema, often at a massive mark up. These are an "added extra option", and you can purchase the same or similar products much cheaper at a nearby shop. The cost of running the cinema should be accounted for in the cost of the movie ticket, not made up by the concession stand.
    Originally posted by engineer amy
    Isn't that what I said?

    Not the same.
    You go to the cinema predominantly to watch a film, not to eat & drink.
    When you go to a cafe or restaurant, you go to consume food & drink.
    Originally posted by Pollycat
    Or were you disagreeing with the post above mine?
    • crmism
    • By crmism 17th Apr 19, 9:14 PM
    • 148 Posts
    • 83 Thanks
    crmism
    It's reasonable for any outlet that provides meals to be eaten on the premises to expect its patrons to buy the food and drink it produces, but I can see your point when you have a toddler who's unfamiliar with what's on offer and learning what he or she likes.

    If the place you go to is still tolerant, why not ask whether they mind what you're doing and if they have an age bar? I'm sure they won't mind you asking, as they're obviously keen to keep your custom.
    • suki1964
    • By suki1964 17th Apr 19, 9:31 PM
    • 11,843 Posts
    • 31,884 Thanks
    suki1964
    I really wouldn't be worrying about it at this age tbh

    I was a chef in a very busy restaurant and tbh the kiddies meals were way too big for a child of that age and if a parent just asked for one sausage - it was given - FOC. We never turned an eye about one £2.99 kids meal being shared between 2 or sometimes 3 children either.

    Some children would only eat mash and gravy or soup and gravy - once. again - FOC. As children got more adventurous - a side plate and teaspoon were given as they were fed of the parents plate

    The thing was, I worked for an independent and we wanted the parents to return. We didn't care about the minute cost of feeding a child because it meant the parents came back


    Now as a grandmother, I have been the other side. Taking my 2 year old grandson with me into Pizza Hut one lunch time for a buffet lunch. I ordered for myself and a soft drink for him. They then tried to charge me for his "meal" which consisted of a bit of cucumber, some sweetcorn, and a slice of garlic bread. I gave them short shift and paid for my meal and his drink and told them very politely where they could go
    if you lend someone £20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

3,508Posts Today

7,386Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • Have a great Easter, or a chag sameach to those like me attending Passover seder tomorrow. I?m taking all of next? https://t.co/qrAFTIpqWl

  • RT @rowlyc1980: A whopping 18 days off work for only 9 days leave! I?ll have a bit of that please......thanks @MartinSLewis for your crafty?

  • RT @dinokyp: That feeling when you realise that you have 18 days of work and only used 9 days of your annual leave! Thanks @MartinSLewis h?

  • Follow Martin