Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Kids Meals

I just got back from the Red Iguana and I feel a little sick. Not that I don’t like the Red Iguana, it’s just twice as much food as I’m used to eating.

I ordered the bean and cheese burritos smothered in mole negro and I had no idea the burritos were going to be that big. At least I have lunch for tomorrow.

So here’s what I’m thinking. I would like most restaurants to offer half portions at half the price. I know it’s never going to happen, I understand how the restaurant is getting more money out of giving us more food for a bigger price rather than half that amount of food for half the price. But I’m a little person and I don’t eat that much!

Lately I’ve been a big fan of kids meals. Not because I’m partial to macaroni, chicken fingers, grilled cheese sandwiches and quesadillas, but because it’s a Laura-sized portion at a decent price.

Here are my favorite places to get kids meals:

Subway: I don’t really like subway sandwiches, but you can build your own low fat sandwich (adult ½ sandwich), get apples or yogurt AND chocolate milk all for $3.99. I know! Can you believe it? Plus if I tell them I don’t need a toy they give me a cookie instead. I think it’s interesting how the company goes to all this trouble to make the kids menu healthier by giving them the apple/yogurt option as well as milk. The adult options are chips and soda. I don’t get it. Are only kids supposed to be healthy? Help me out here. I’m all about the kids meal at Subway now. I doubt I’ll order anything else. Plus, they don’t care that I’m an adult. There’s no “12 and under” stipulation.

Costa Vida: I don’t remember if there’s an age max for their kids meal, but for $3.99 you can have a quesadilla, an enchilada or taco with rice and beans and a soft drink. That’s a better price than the adult portion. And I don’t need an adult portion. OH and you get a cinnamon sugar tortilla for dessert. Please, there’s no contest here. Kids meal, all the way.

While we’re on this subject, why SHOULDN’T adults be allowed to order off the kids menu? Why is there an age restriction? I understand senior discounts because they’re not working or whatever (is that why?). I also understand reduced rates for kids at movies and other events. They’re kids, and it’s expensive to entertain a lot of kids in addition to the parents. But that is a different price for the same service. I don’t expect them to let me in for the kid price.

What I don’t understand is why a restaurant wouldn’t let an adult order off the kids menu when the product is a different one, priced proportionately. I don’t think they’re giving the kids a deal because they’re kids. I think they’re charging less because it’s less food. Am I wrong? Does anyone have any kind of data on profit margins for kids meals vs. normal menu items? I want less food and I want to pay less for it, what’s wrong with that? Are they afraid everyone is going to want smaller portions? Hmm…maybe that says something about what some people want doesn’t it? Wouldn’t they prefer that I eat all my food rather than tossing half of it because I don’t want to stuff myself and the food won’t keep well in the fridge?


j said...

My guess is that adult portions have a higher profit margin, and that kids meals are made cheaper to attract parents with children. Because most children aren't going to be ordering alone, so you can assume that every kids meal comes with the sale of an adult meal.

Annie said...

I agree wholeheartedly, sell me a small meal for a smaller price! Also, I like Costa Vida because they do have "small" salads.

joN. said...

what j said. it's my belief that restaurants actually lose money on kids meals but make that up with the addition of adults ordering adult meals in the same party (of course around here, folks bring in enough kids to really put the hurt on some eating establishments i imagine). certainly it doesn't happen too often that a group of people under 12 just sort of waltzes into a restaurant and picks the kids' meal section dry.

i'm all for half portions being available, but i understand that restaurants aren't going to just put it up for 50%. look at rumbi. you can get half a rice bowl, which is more practical, but it costs about 75 or 80% of what the full bowl costs (which i totally understand since even though it's half the material it takes the same amount of labor to produce). that's why i practiced over and over and am now able to eat a full bowl at rumbi's quite easily.

word verification: "later"

Kelly D. said...

All of Chloe's school rewards are coupons for free kids meals (like if she gets 3 100% spelling tests in a row, she gets a free kids meal at TGI Fridays). The catch is that you have to purchase an adult meal. It's totally a scheme to get the parents (and the rest of the family) into their establishment to spend money on regular meals and drinks. So yeah, not only are they under pricing the kids meals, they're giving them away to schools in order to lure in the $$$$.

I HATE it. I wish they would just give her a sticker. But no. She has to get a coupon and then beg us to take her out to dinner. Also, they did a whole unit on healthy meals (red light foods, green light foods, etc). A free corn dog at Hot Dog on a Stick (we also got one of these) for a good spelling test just sends the wrong message.

And that is my rant on kids meals. Obviously I should pass our coupons on to you!

Ilene said...

I hide Jackson's personal pizza coupons he gets every month for reading.

Laura portions. Sheesh. I wish I could control my portions. Of course when I go to Costa Vida I typically share a burrito with Dan. The sad thing is that I eat exactly half the burrito when I should probably eat 1/3 since Dan is 10 inches taller than I. This is probably why he has no trouble keeping slim and trim. I eat half the burrito and secretly crave his half.

It is a wonder that I am not 350 pounds. I guess vanity comes in handy every now and again.

Jergs Family said...

I totally agree with the whole portion sizes thing. Is it just me or are portions getting larger and larger?! My view is that here in America, most people are all about quantity - not so much quality and the chance to let your food settle. It's get in, get your ginormous lunch, snarf it down in 20 minutes and get out so we can seat another group of people so they can do the same thing! It's a business and the restaurants business is to make money - they don't care that 60% of Americans are now obese.

I could go on and on - rant and rant, but I just don't have the time. I support your idea 100% Laura!

Jeanelle said...

Have I ever commented here? I'm not sure...but hi! I'm doing weight watchers and totally agree with you. I had to go to lunch at Spaghetti Factory this week and it irritates me that they don't have a "lighter" or smaller menu at all. I ended up eating just a few bites of my spaghetti and getting a to-go container but you know it won't be as good reheated.