Out to Lunch

With the help of an army of ‘secret diner’ parents, we surveyed some of the UK's biggest and most popular chains on the food and service they are offering our children. This is what we found...(Click on a restaurant name to see more)

Out to Lunch logo

League Table

RESTAURANTS

TOTAL SCORE OUT OF 80

1  Jamie's Italian

644 stars

Jamie's Italian tops the league table once more, offering a creative menu, well sourced ingredients, a healthy choice, and a family friendly dining experience – fantastic!

Change in ranking from 2013: =

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?4 stars

Do they offer a healthy choice?4 stars

How family-friendly is it?4 stars

Top marks

  • Freshly cooked food, organic meat, free range eggs and sustainable fish at a reasonable price – Jamie’s is head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to serving fresh food you can trust.
  • Kids and parents alike loved the 'shake me salad’ which is served with every meal. The menu also includes seasonal fruit and an organic seven-veg sauce – Jamie’s Italian packs in the goodness and makes healthy eating enjoyable.
  • The children’s drinks menu promotes the healthy choice, with only organic juice, organic milk, and water on offer to little ones. They also add 10p to the price of every sugary soft drink on the main menu, with the money raised spent on children’s food education in the UK.

Could do better

  • Some children struggled with the adult cutlery – it would be great to see children’s cutlery offered as standard across all Jamie’s Italian restaurants.
  • There is only one veggie dish on the menu – we’d have hoped to see Jamie’s offering a greater variety of non-meat options.

"Great food and an excellent activity pack, which included seeds to take home and plant!"

"My daughter loved the ‘shake me’ salad pot."

"Not only was there no children’s cutlery provided, but the adults’ cutlery was particularly large."

Click to close

2  Harvester

453 stars

Parents were consistently impressed by this chain, where an unlimited salad bar helps children towards their 5-a-day and a flexible menu allows them to tailor their choices and select their veg. There is still room for improvement – their meat isn’t farm assured and their fish isn’t MSC sustainable – but they stand out from other chains in their commitment to meeting the needs of their young guests.

Change in ranking from 2013: ⇧ 3

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?1 star

Do they offer a healthy choice?4 stars

How family-friendly is it?3.5 stars

Top marks

  • They’ve taken sugary drinks off their children’s menu and replaced them with a range of no added sugar options.
  • They offer a portion of veg with every meal and an unlimited salad bar to top up young guests’ five-a-day – that’s the way to do it!
  • Parents appreciated the flexibility of a menu that caters for smaller and larger appetites, and even offers baby food for very little ones.
  • 5-a-day messaging and lower sugar and salt choices are signposted throughout the menu, supporting parents to make the healthy choice.

Could do better

  • They could make it even easier for kids to eat well by making the fresh fruit pudding the default option in the meal deal.
  • They’re a step behind other chains in failing to ensure that all their meat is farm assured and all fish is MSC certified – the kids menu also includes no information about where ingredients come from.

"We really enjoyed our visit, and great that they have a free salad bar."

"Different sized dishes for different ages, we really enjoyed our meal."

Click to close

3  Giraffe

44 2.5 stars

Giraffe has done much to improve their children’s offer in the past two years – this chain now promotes the healthy choice, and boasts a creative menu, freshly prepared food and a family- friendly service. Their menu isn’t as flexible as some other chains, but both parents and kids alike rated their meals highly.

Change in ranking from 2013: ⇧ 10

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?2 stars

Do they offer a healthy choice?3.5 stars

How family-friendly is it?2.5 stars

Top marks

  • They offer a fun and creative menu, with the healthy options included in the meal deal, and there are no chips to be seen!
  • Great to see a chain serving free range eggs and farm assured pork and beef.
  • Parents and children found staff to be attentive and friendly.

Could do better

  • Children’s cutlery would make it easier for little ones to enjoy their meal.
  • More flexibility with portion sizes would keep both smaller and larger appetites happy.
  • Giraffe are a step behind other chains in offering Coca- Cola and other fizzy drinks on the kids menu.

"The waitress was very happy to take the time to explain things to my children. The atmosphere was fab for kids and the food was fresh and good quality."

"The food was good, but there was no children’s cutlery provided and my daughter struggled to eat it."

Click to close

4  Wetherspoons

432.5 stars

Cheap eats, bags of free fruit, and a family friendly experience – families can do a lot worse than lunch at Wetherspoons. This is the second largest chain in the league table, serving close to a million children’s meals every month – it’s great to see MSC sustainable cod, free range eggs, and British farm assured beef served up on such a large scale.

Change in ranking from 2013: ⇩ 1

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?2 stars

Do they offer a healthy choice?3 stars

How family-friendly is it?3 stars

Top marks

  • They offer a bag of fruit for free with all main meals, and choices that count towards 5-a-day are highlighted on the menu – good support for healthy eating.
  • They use MSC sustainable cod, free range eggs, and British farm assured beef and spuds, and do well at highlighting British produce on the menu.
  • Parents were generally impressed by the friendly staff and the child-friendly environment.

Could do better

  • There is little flexibility on portion sizes, and they don’t serve children’s portions of adult meals – this left some children hungry and others too full.
  • Parents reported disappointing activities for children, and the inconsistent provision of kids’ cutlery.
  • The usual suspects dominate the kid’s menu – Wetherspoons would do well to ditch the chips and come up with a more creative offering.

"It's a lovely, fun, family-friendly environment, but the kids menu could be more creative."

"We were given crayons, but nothing to draw on."

Click to close

5  Wagamama

402.5 stars

Wagamama’s menu is characterised by creative and healthy choices, and no shortage of veg. Parents had mixed opinions as to how child-friendly the staff and service were, but this remains the leading chain for a grown-up and appetising choice.

Change in ranking from 2013: ⇩ 3

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?1.5 stars

Do they offer a healthy choice?3.5 stars

How family-friendly is it?2.5 stars

Top marks

  • They offer children the same food experience as adults, with grown-up dishes and mini-chopsticks offered as standard – a winner with both parents and kids.
  • Oodles of veg across the menu and a great range of tasty, appetising and balanced choices – bravo!
  • Most meals are cooked for the first time in the restaurant – and with open plan kitchens you can watch them while they cook.

Could do better

  • Parents were given misleading and inconsistent answers when they asked “where was your meat produced?” More transparency on the menu and in restaurants would be welcomed.
  • It would be good to see Wagamama follow the lead of other restaurants and use farm assured meat and free range eggs in all their meals.
  • A few child-friendly touches, including better activities for little ones, would boost this restaurant further up the league table.

"My daughter loved the mini chopsticks she was given, and the staff we very welcoming."

"When I asked where the meat came from I was met with a blank stare – our waiter found out that the chicken was Polish, but no further information was offered and we were made to feel like an inconvenience."

Click to close

6  Prezzo

382.5 stars

The highest climber in our league table, this chain has transformed its children’s offer in the last two years and now stands above competing Italians. There is still room for improvement, particularly in promoting the healthy choice and guaranteeing a portion of veg with every meal, but the direction of travel at Prezzo is promising.

Change in ranking from 2013: ⇧ 13

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?1.5 stars

Do they offer a healthy choice?2.5 stars

How family-friendly is it?3.5 stars

Top marks

  • Their flexible menu caters for smaller and larger appetites, and includes organic fruit lollies and fresh fruit for pudding – fantastic!
  • Parents were impressed and kids were entertained by the activity sheets, which include games related to food and healthy eating.
  • Great to see so many veggie dishes on the menu – more than is typical for high street chains.

Could do better

  • Healthy eating could be made easier by ensuring that meal options are balanced and all mains include a portion of veg.
  • The family friendly welcome could be further improved by offering children’s cutlery as standard in all restaurants.
  • Where was their meat produced? There is no farm assurance, and staff were unable to consistently answer parents’ questions.

"One of the best eating experiences with children in a smart restaurant. There were many other tables with kids so I guess they are used to catering for families."

"I was impressed with the activities – the word-search and games all related to food and healthy eating."

Click to close

7  Cafe Rouge

382.5 stars

This 'Parisienne-style bistro' offers a warm welcome to families, but their kids’ menu is not the most inspiring. Sausages, burgers, chips, ice cream, and fizzy drinks – Café Rouge’s menu is dominated by the ‘usual suspects’ and falls short of the creativity of their adult offering.

Change in ranking from 2013: =

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?1.5 stars

Do they offer a healthy choice?3 stars

How family-friendly is it?2.5 stars

Top marks

  • All meals are served with a salad starter, and meal options that contribute towards a child’s 5-a-day are highlighted on the menu – this we like to see.
  • Good to see sautéed chicken breast with new potatoes offered alongside the usual suspects.
  • Great to see them use Red Tractor farm assured chicken.

Could do better

  • Despite the fresh veg starter, more could be done to serve a variety of veggies with a more creative range of main meals, plus a higher proportion of fruit-based puddings.
  • Café Rouge offers cheap refills of fizzy drinks – nutrient-free sugar bombs that should have no place on a kids menu.
  • A lack of flexible portion sizes left some children hungry and others too full – it would be great to see a more versatile menu, and kids offered the choice of selecting a small portion of adult meals off the main menu.

"The kids set menu was good value, but there was no flexibility for smaller and larger appetites."

"My son enjoyed the activities, but the staff could have been more attentive."

"I asked if sausages were free range or organic and the waitress said she didn't know – she didn’t even ask in the kitchen."

Click to close

8  Pizza Express

372.5 stars

Parents enjoyed a family-friendly dining experience at Pizza Express, and approved of the salad starters. But this chain lags behind on food sourcing, and they could do more to help kids eat their 5-a-day.

Change in ranking from 2013: ⇧ 7

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?0.5 star

Do they offer a healthy choice?3 stars

How family-friendly is it?3.5 stars

Top marks

  • Parents approved of a “well thought through” menu that includes a salad starter with every meal and ‘build it yourself’ pizza options.
  • Children were kept entertained by colouring activities and illustrations of fruit and vegetables, and parents loved the family-friendly service.
  • Pizza Express are doing some great things to 'get kids cooking', with thousands visiting their kitchens each year – fantastic food education for little ones.

Could do better

  • Beyond the salad starter, veg is scarce and there is no option of fresh fruit for pudding – they could do more to support healthy eating and encourage kids to eat their 5-a-day.
  • They are failing to prepare and cook the majority of their food for the first time in the restaurant – not what you would expect from a trusted brand.
  • Eggs aren’t free range, and chicken, beef and ham aren’t farm assured; staff were also unable to tell parents where they had been produced.

"The kids menu was well thought through – a three-course meal and excellent value for money, well done!"

"Lovely experience with activities that kept my daughter entertained, staff very friendly, and tasty food – though they need to provide kids cutlery and crockery."

Click to close

9  ASK Italian

352 stars

Parents felt welcomed at this chain, and were pleased to find that fizzy drinks were not offered on the kids menu. Although they still have work to do before they can claim to be serving fresh food you can trust, ASK Italian offers families a fun and friendly Italian dining experience.

Change in ranking from 2013: ⇩ 3

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?1 star

Do they offer a healthy choice?3 stars

How family-friendly is it?2.5 stars

Top marks

  • Parents were pleased to find a kids menu free from fizzy drinks and the option of fresh fruit for pudding.
  • Parents enjoyed a warm welcome, and children were kept entertained with colouring in and puppet making activities.
  • The carrot and cucumber starters went down a treat with children – it would be great to see a greater variety of veggies served with the main courses.

Could do better

  • Children’s portions of adult meals were available only on request – it would be good to see this offered as standard to diversify the menu and better cater for children of different appetites.
  • Where does ASK Italian’s meat come from? Staff couldn’t give parents a straight answer and there are no clues on the menu.
  • The tomatoes may be authentically Italian, but neither the Bolognese sauce nor the tomato sauce for pizzas is freshly prepared in the restaurant – disappointing.

"The serving staff weren’t sure where the meat came from, but the chef did share some information with us."

"The menu was good – no fizzy drinks, broccoli and tomatoes as a side, and a fresh fruit option as a sweet."

Click to close

10  Frankie & Benny's

332 stars

Sugar alert! Frankie & Benny’s offer a potentially calorific menu that includes unlimited refills of fizzy drinks and a dizzying array of sugary puddings. Parents enjoyed the attentive service and were pleased to see a portion of veg or salad served with every meal – by tidying up their drinks and pudding offer, this chain could impress.

Change in ranking from 2013: ⇩ 2

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?1 star

Do they offer a healthy choice?2.5 stars

How family-friendly is it?2.5 stars

Top marks

  • A menu that caters for smaller and larger appetites, with organic baby food on offer for very little ones – great to see!
  • All children’s meals served with a side of veg and free apples are also on offer.
  • Most parents enjoyed family-friendly service from staff who welcomed the children and made the visit exciting and fun.

Could do better

  • Unlimited refills of fizzy drinks should have no place on a kids menu! The pudding menu also needs developing to encourage children and families to choose the healthy option.
  • Great that a portion of veg or salad is served with every meal, but more effort could be put into serving a wider variety of vegetables in more creative and child-friendly ways.

"The pudding contained no fruit, it was all sugar. And sugary desserts were promoted on the table, an ice cream candy shop – I wasn’t impressed by this."

"The waitress was surprised by my asking where the meat came from, but she responded promptly. She went to check with the kitchen and brought back the pack of hotdogs – this said that they were produced in Germany and were not free range."

Click to close

11  Beefeater

322 stars

Beefeater is one of the few chains serving MSC sustainable fish and farm assured meat, which is great to see. Parents complained however of an unimaginative menu, unappetising food, and inattentive service – this chain is not yet offering children and families the food and service they deserve.

Change in ranking from 2013: =

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?1 star

Do they offer a healthy choice?3 stars

How family-friendly is it?2 stars

Top marks

  • Beefeater picks up points for making healthy eating easy, topping up their young guest’s five-a-day by serving a portion of veg or salad as standard with every main.
  • All their meat is Red Tractor farm assured and their fish is MSC certified and sustainable; they are a cut above most chains in our league table on food sourcing.

Could do better

  • Parents have demanded more interesting, more inspiring, and more appetising dishes, matching those available on the main menu.
  • Although fresh fruit is on offer, the pudding menu is dripping with sugar – it would be great to see a more streamlined offering with more fruit-based options.
  • The meat may be farm assured, but staff members were ill- equipped to answer questions about where it came from, and there was no information provided on the kids menu.
  • More effort is needed to raise the standard of their service to children across the board – including by offering children’s cutlery and variable portion sizes, and by providing more entertaining activities.

"We had to ask for children's cutlery. This was provided as a small knife and fork wrapped in a little napkin, which I thought was a really nice touch. I shouldn’t have had to ask for this, it should be offered to all parents with small children."

"The children's menu offers no differentiation in portion size between a 4 year old and an 11 year old. Adult Meals should be available to children in half sizes."

Click to close

12  Zizzi

322 stars

With a set menu that offers the choice of ice cream or more ice cream for pudding, kids eating at Zizzi are guaranteed a good dose of sugar. Families enjoyed a warm welcome, but there is plenty of room for improvement at this chain when it comes to making healthy eating easy.

Change in ranking from 2013: ⇧ 5

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?1 star

Do they offer a healthy choice?2 stars

How family-friendly is it?2.5 stars

Top marks

  • Small versions of some pasta dishes can be ordered from the main menu, and they give the choice of a smaller option for 'tiny tummies' which pleased parents with very little ones.
  • Children enjoyed the colouring in sheets and food based activities, and parents reported that staff were mostly friendly and helpful.
  • A carrot and cucumber starter comes with every meal, and parents have the option of adding on a side of beans or broccoli to their main for 50p – great for those willing to pay the premium.

Could do better

  • Zizzi doesn’t offer a fruit-based pudding, kids have the choice of ice cream or even more ice cream, served with sugar cones and popping candy – this doesn’t make healthy eating easy.
  • We were disappointed to see that Bolognese sauce wasn’t freshly prepared or cooked for the first time in the restaurant.
  • None of the meat is farm assured, and staff hadn’t a clue where it came from when asked by parents.

"It would be nice to see a fruit option for pudding. It was good however to see carrot and cucumber sticks provided as a starter."

"The service was very warm and friendly, and a massive bowl of freshly cooked long stem broccoli for 50p per child was impressive."

Click to close

13  Carluccio's

302 stars

Where are all the vegetables? Carluccios must be commended for offering children’s portions of adult’s meals, but vegetables are few and far between on their kids’ menu. Combine this with a lack of transparency over sourcing and preparation practices, and this chain tumbles down the league table, falling behind other Italians.

Change in ranking from 2013: ⇩ 9

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?1 star

Do they offer a healthy choice?2 stars

How family-friendly is it?3 stars

Top marks

  • They are the only restaurant chain to offer children a smaller portion of their adult meals as standard – great to see!
  • Parents enjoyed a family-friendly service, and children were treated to an activity pack that kept them busy and entertained.
  • A simple pudding menu makes the fresh fruit choice much easier than in other chains.

Could do better

  • More veg please! With no indication of what’s healthier and a real lack of vegetables they don’t go out of their way to make healthy eating easy.
  • Are they freshly preparing and cooking their food for the first time in the restaurant? Carluccios were one of the few chains who failed to respond to our queries over their sourcing and preparation practices.

"There were no vegetables included in the children's menu at all - I had to purchase green beans to go with their meal. I also felt the children's menu was quite limited in choice."

"My only grouch was that although all adult meals came with a side salad, the children’s meals came with neither salad nor vegetables. I feel that ‘greenery’ should be an integral, and substantial, part of every meal."

"The activities were great fun for the children: a sealed envelope with a substantial booklet of paper-based activities, pencils, and make your own sunglasses, and the children’s menu was part of the booklet."

Click to close

14  Brewer's Fayre

292 stars

Parents did not rate the food or the service at this ‘pub style’ restaurant. Brewers Fayre do well to serve Red Tractor farm assured meat and MSC sustainable fish, but with meals described as “fast food” and “inadequate” by parents, they are a long way from keeping families satisfied.

Change in ranking from 2013: ⇧ 4

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?1 star

Do they offer a healthy choice?2.5 stars

How family-friendly is it?2 stars

Top marks

  • All their meat is Red Tractor farm assured and their fish is MSC certified and sustainable, setting them ahead of most chains on the league table.
  • A portion of veg or salad is served with as standard with every main, and parents have the option of swapping between a green salad, veg sticks, and peas.

Could do better

  • The fresh fruit salad cuts an isolated figure on a pudding menu otherwise drenched in sugar – some streamlining of the pudding options would help to promote the healthier choice.
  • Pre-cooked potatoes, pre-mashed in Belgium, and then frozen, transported, and re-heated and served to kids – it would be great to see more food freshly prepared in the restaurant.
  • The provision of children’s cutlery and more engaging activities would make the little ones feel more welcome.

"5 of 9 main meals were essentially ‘fast food’, and 7 of 8 deserts were sugary. There was also an over promotion of sugary drinks, and no tap water was offered."

"There were a lot of children in the restaurant, but the staff didn’t interact with them at all."

Click to close

15  McDonald's

292 stars

McDonalds do well at sourcing quality ingredients: milk is organic, eggs are free range, and they use MSC certified fish and farm assured British beef. Other chains fall well short of their animal welfare standards and local sourcing practices. But their one-size-fits all menu of fried main meals fails to promote healthy eating among the millions of children that pass through their doors.

Change in ranking from 2013: ⇩ 4

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?1.5 stars

Do they offer a healthy choice?1.5 stars

How family-friendly is it?2.5 stars

Top marks

  • Their animal welfare standards and local sourcing practices are impressive, and staff were happy and able to answer parents who asked where their meat was from.
  • They offer fresh fruit or carrot sticks as a side instead of chips.
  • Calories for each meal option are on the menu.

Could do better

  • An inflexible menu (a ‘one-size-fits-all’ box of fried food) left some children too full and others still hungry.
  • Veggie? Forget it. With only three main meals on offer and no veggie option to be seen, their menu lacks variety especially when compared to their adult offering.
  • Parents didn't rate the restaurant's child friendliness – no interaction between staff and children, and computer games that distracted children from their food.

"I could see a leaflet at the side of the lobby that explained where the beef, eggs and pork came from, and staff were happy to answer my questions."

"McDonalds is designed to appeal to children, but I don’t feel they do this appropriately: the message seemed to be that they should shovel their food down their face as quickly as possible whilst distracting themselves with the provided computer games or the Magic Table."

Click to close

16  Hungry Horse

291.5 stars

Parents were underwhelmed by the service and the food at Hungry Horse. This chain does offer flexibility and a range of portion sizes, but a predictable menu and lack-lustre service has left them lagging behind many other chains.

Change in ranking from 2013: ⇩ 4

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?1 star

Do they offer a healthy choice?2.5 stars

How family-friendly is it?1.5 stars

Top marks

  • Great to see farm assured chicken highlighted on the menu!
  • Their menu caters for smaller and larger appetites, and includes the option of baby food – this is a great help for parents.
  • The menu is flexible and allows little ones to swap their veg and carb sides without having to choose between them.

Could do better

  • Parents described the menu as uninspiring, unappetising, and lacking in creativity.
  • Parents did not give a positive response when asked if the restaurant was child friendly, with no children’s cutlery or activities provided, and TVs felt to be an overbearing distraction from the meal.

"I asked where the meat was from, they didn't know and didn't offer to find out."

"No nutritional information is provided and the kids’ meal options aren’t appetising."

"There are TVs and arcade games near the tables – I don’t think this is a family friendly environment."

Click to close

17  Nando's

281.5 stars

Nando’s are failing to keep up with the pack. While they outperform other restaurants in offering UK produced Red Tractor chicken, free range eggs and organic milk, they don’t go out of their way to serve up a healthy choice. Parents were also disappointed by uninspiring activities and the lack of children’s cutlery.

Change in ranking from 2013: =

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?2.5 stars

Do they offer a healthy choice?1.5 stars

How family-friendly is it?2 stars

Top marks

  • Nando’s are a cut above other restaurants in offering UK produced Red Tractor chicken and free range eggs – as a result staff were sometimes able to give a straight answer when parents asked where their chicken came from.
  • Nando’s offer their young guests a veggie option alongside their chicken.
  • Great to see organic milk on offer, and no fizzy drinks on the kids’ menu.

Could do better

  • The ‘do-it-yourself’ menu fails to promote a healthy choice by giving kids the option of choosing two carbs with their meal and no veg.
  • Although not included on the kid’s menu, free refills of sugary soft drinks are available in restaurants and our ‘secret diner’ parents reported that kids were drinking them.
  • More child-friendly touches, like cutlery and better activities, would go a long way to make this restaurant more of a hit with kids and parents.

"Having children’s cutlery would be useful, and more interesting activities would be welcomed, but my eldest liked that he could choose his own peri-peri sauce."

"We were told that the chicken is all British and Red Tractor."

Click to close

18  Pizza Hut

271.5 stars

For zero-nutrition sugar hits, go to Pizza Hut. With free refills of soft drinks and an all you can eat ‘ice-cream-factory’, Pizza Hut’s menu is dripping with the white stuff – this is not how you encourage kids to stay healthy. Parents were also disappointed that staff were unable to answer their questions on where they sourced their meat. We’re none the wiser on this point – Pizza Hut declined our request for information on sourcing and preparation practices, one of the few chains to do so.

Change in ranking from 2013: ⇩ 2

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?0 stars

Do they offer a healthy choice?2 stars

How family-friendly is it?3 stars

Top marks

  • A free salad bar supports kids to eat their five-a-day – a positive addition to an otherwise uninspiring menu.

Could do better

  • With free refills of soft drinks and an all you can eat ‘ice-cream-factory’, Pizza Hut’s menu is dripping with sugar – this is not how you encourage kids to stay healthy.
  • Staff were clueless when parents asked where their meat came from, and they declined our request for further information – one of the only chains to do so.
  • Activities were provided – but parents had to ask for them. Parents said that the service could also be improved by the provision of children’s cutlery.

"The salad bar was free with children’s meals and looked appealing to them."

"The children’s menu looked unhealthy and could certainly be improved."

Click to close

19  Strada

271.5 stars

Strada offers an interesting menu that includes seasonal veggies – it’s disappointing to see them slipping so far down the league table. Their score reflects a lack of transparency over where they source their ingredients and how they prepare their food. Parents would also have welcomed a more flexible offer that catered for larger and smaller appetites.

Change in ranking from 2013: ⇩ 10

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?0.5 stars

Do they offer a healthy choice?2 stars

How family-friendly is it?2 stars

Top marks

  • Great to see the menu highlighting where the beef was produced.
  • Seasonal veggies are used in the risotto – fantastic!

Could do better

  • Transparency over where their food comes from would be welcome – we were disappointed that Strada failed to answer any of our questions on food sourcing and preparation.
  • Chips with pizza? Strada’s menu could be designed to make healthy eating easier – we’d like to see a portion of veg or salad served with every meal, and a greater variety of carbs on offer.
  • The set menu left some smaller children too full, as it includes a starter, main, drink and pudding. It would be good to see children and parents given more flexible options.

"My kids are 2 years old and 8 years old – there was no variation in portion size between toddlers and older kids."

"There was some info on menu as to where the meat came from, but staff weren’t able to tell me anything further."

Click to close

20  KFC

211.5 stars

KFC take the sourcing and standard of their meat seriously, and they do well to serve only Red Tractor farm assured chicken – but if it’s fresh cooking and a healthy choice you’re after, then they have little to offer.

Change in ranking from 2013: =

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?1 star

Do they offer a healthy choice?1.5 stars

How family-friendly is it?1.5 stars

Top marks

  • They're working their way towards using free-range eggs, and are committed to supporting the UK and Irish farming industries by buying Red Tractor farm assured chicken – other chains have much to learn from KFC’s commitment to good sourcing.
  • Corn on the cob and beans are offered as alternative side options to chips.

Could do better

  • KFC don’t seem particularly interested in their children’s menu, which falls short, even compared to their main menu. It would be good to see children offered the same if, not better, quality and variety of foods as adults.
  • A range of fizzy drinks is available and can be selected within the kids’ meal deal, piling on the calories – water and juice are at least offered alongside.
  • They don’t market directly to children with the colourful toys available at other fast food chains, but neither do they provide any activities to keep kids entertained – they could do more to consider the needs of their young diners.

"Very uninspiring, and the food was total rubbish, the staff were friendly though."

"I would say this this is not a particularly child friendly chain. There were no activities provided and the meal choice for children consisted solely of fried chicken – I’d have liked a little more choice."

Click to close

21  Burger King

111 star

Burger King appeals to children with popular toys and playgrounds, but fails to offer them fresh food, veg and variety, or a healthy choice. With parents unimpressed at both the menu and the service, it’s little wonder that this chain has fallen even further behind and is languishing at the bottom of the league table.

Change in ranking from 2013: =

Do they serve fresh food you can trust?0 stars

Do they offer a healthy choice?0.5 stars

How family-friendly is it?1.5 stars

Top marks

  • It’s good to see a bean burger on the menu as a veggie alternative to processed meat mains.
  • Their sides aren’t restricted to chips – their ‘apple fries’ are a nod in the direction of a healthy choice.

Could do better

  • A long list of fizzy drinks and sugary puddings are a tempting calorific supplement to the kids’ meal.
  • More healthy options are needed to give children an appetising and healthy choice. Simple steps, like vegetable sides, fresh salad in their burger, or a fresh fruit option for pudding would be good to see.
  • Burger King declined to share any information with us as to where they source their food and how they prepare their meals – do they have something to hide?

"An uninspiring kids menu, disappointing activities, and no fruit or veg to be seen!"

"The food was beige and greasy, and came in two paper bags."

"The staff couldn’t tell me where the chicken was from or whether it was free range."

Click to close

Read the Out to Lunch press release

Want to know how things have changed since our previous Out to Lunch campaign? Click here to see the league table from 2013.

 

Methodology

How did we carry out the Out to Lunch investigation? Read our methodology to find out.

Tell your friends


Restaurants & pubs - it's time to take a good look at your children's menu and the service you offer