This blog was inspired from a recent summer holiday experience to a 5-star beach resort with my wife, my 5 year-old and 2 year-old.
Just 2 very simple questions:
- As professional hoteliers and restaurateurs, how can we not cater for the needs of children, now knowing what the dangers and long term effects are of unhealthy eating?
- How can so called professionals serve pizza, chicken nuggets, and a list of deep fried food to children and assume this is acceptable, whilst food concepts, menus and our understanding of nutrition has evolved so far of the past years?
As a parent, the nutritional needs of a child are obviously a priority, and it’s easy to forget about this with our busy schedules and time poor lifestyles. However, the food a child eats in their early years can influence their dietary habits later in life, so it’s important to instil good habits and a healthy relationship with food from an early age, and as hospitality professionals we should know this better than most.
Now, before you jump down my throat with: “Kids won’t eat heathy boring food” and “parents won’t pay those extra prices for organic foods”………. Hold on. A) you don’t have to make healthy food boring. B) It does not have to cost more, and if it does, you will be surprised as to how many people would be willing to pay for this. Just try it.
What we are seeing in hotels are a lot of fried foods, high-sugar beverages and very few vegetables being offered to children when they’re dining out with their parents. It’s true that parents and kids often want a treat when they’re eating out as a family, but that doesn’t mean unhealthy items should be dominating children’s menus. And treats can still be healthy, just wait and see the attachment.
Children who are overweight or obese face a greater risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure as they grow older. As a group of professionals, we should be committed to being leaders in responsible eating. Children are our future. Children develop a natural preference for the foods they enjoy so the challenge is to ensure the choices they make at a young age will shape their food preferences into adulthood
By turning the traditional kid’s menu on its head and offering healthier choice and less of the deep fried options, chefs, restaurateurs and hoteliers will be investing in their future customers.
To help improve your children’s menus, I am providing a “tool box” of recipes, tips and menu guidelines which I developed in 2007 as a side project when I was with Hilton Asia Pacific, which I never had the opportunity to share. I now offer this to all my readers complimentary and can be used, shared and reproduced without any copy rights. Please enjoy!
Paul was born in Sydney, Australia and was exposed to the hospitality industry from a young age. He began his career in the family business, working in all aspects of the restaurant industry. He later took a post in a boutique hotel in Sydney to continue his studies in management.
Paul’s passion in F&B moved him from hotels to free-standing restaurants as he worked his way up to management positions at a very young age. With an eagerness to succeed, he opened his first café in the Sydney Suburb of Brookvale. He soon expanded into the second café in North Sydney.
Paul sold his cafes later in order to focus in the restaurant industry. Purchasing Milsons restaurant in Kirribilli, Sydney, at the young age of 27, Paul became one of the young restaurateurs of Sydney. This ‘One Hat’ fine dining restaurant continued its success with Paul at the helm. Later purchasing the sister restaurant, Jaspers of Hunters Hill, another ‘One Hat’ restaurant, Paul began to grow his company to create a mini restaurant empire. Successfully opening Essence restaurant in King Street Wharf Sydney, Paul continued to grow his restaurant company to 12 restaurants throughout Sydney.
Creating a strong following and a recipe for success, Paul founded Savvy IQ, advising fellow restaurateurs and hoteliers on his expertise and formula to success. His work expanded internationally, and later became Director Asia Pacific for Hilton Worldwide managing almost 300 F&B outlets in 17 countries. He then moved to Moscow as Director for Stepan Mikhalkov as Director for Verchisky, Vanil and a number of other restaurants and cafes within the group.
With an international focus, Paul has been appointed as CEO with restaurant groups in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and London. Now Paul continues his consulting company, Savvy IQ and developments concepts in London and internationally, with 4 restaurants concepts opening in 2017/18.