Jamie's Italian tops child-friendly restaurants league table

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Restaurant chain, Restaurant

Jamie's Italian: Best for children, according to the results of the Out to Lunch campaign
Jamie's Italian: Best for children, according to the results of the Out to Lunch campaign
Jamie's Italian, Wagamama and JD Wetherspoon have taken the top three places in a league table designed to show the best and worst restaurant and pub chains catering for children. 

The list, drawn up by baby food company Organix and the Soil Association for its Out to Lunch campaign​, was created after parents investigating 21 restaurant and pub brands gave them a score out of 80 based on a range of criteria, such as whether they offered healthy options, cooked food from fresh and were welcoming to families. 

Oliver and Simon Blagden's 32-strong Italian restaurant chain scored highly due to its inclusion of a salad and fresh fruit juice with every option on its £5.95 kids menu. It was also found to be the only restaurant chain investigated that could reliably identify the source of its meat.

Father-of-four Oliver said topping the table was a 'fantastic achievement'.

"Since the first Jamie’s Italian opened we’ve always kept things kid-friendly with our funky viewfinder menus and super-tasty food, so to come top of the table is a fantastic achievement, and more importantly, confirmation that we're doing things right," he said. "We believe that the quality of the kids’ food should to be right up there on the same level as the main menu, and I truly believe that we have a brilliant offering that both kids love and parents can trust.   

“Over the years, I’ve learnt that if you give kids a bit of ownership over their food, they’ll really embrace it, so that's exactly what we’ve done with our “shake me” salads. Every dish on the kid's menu comes with one and it counts as one of a child’s five a day. I’ve seen parents completely amazed that their kids are eating salad, and that's down to the fact that they’ve been involved and had fun putting it together."

Low score

Low scorers on the list were Burger King, KFC and Prezzo. Parents said an over-reliance on burgers, sausages and nuggets, a lack of fruit and vegetables in dishes and sugar-filled drinks options were reasons for lower scores. 

Joanna Lewis, head of policy at the Soil Association, said: “Our investigation reveals that most high street restaurants are not even meeting the most basic standards families should expect when they eat out. Most are still churning out children’s menus dominated by the usual suspects – burgers, nuggets and pizzas –turning the table into a battlefield for any parents wanting their child to eat well. With one in three children now overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school, it’s time for these popular chains to use their influence in a positive way."

To support the on-going campaign, parents are being issued with review slips to leave behind on tables after their meal and are being encouraged to share their eating-out experiences with friends and families.

Lewis said parents should 'vote with their feet' and not return to restaurants if they weren't up to standard. “Restaurants need to raise the bar and listen to parents who are saying they want fresh food not ready meals for their children, and the same kind of variety you’d expect as an adult," she said.

The Out to Lunch league table (scores out of 80):

  1. Jamie’s Italian (50)
  2. Wagamama (38)
  3. Wetherspoons (38)
  4. Carluccios (36)
  5. Harvester (34)
  6. ASK Italian (33)
  7. Café Rouge (33)
  8. Frankie & Benny’s (31)
  9. Strada (29)
  10. Nandos (28)
  11. McDonalds (28) 
  12. Hungry Horse (28)
  13. Giraffe (27)
  14. Beefeater (25)
  15. Pizza Express (25)
  16. Pizza Hut (23)
  17. Zizzi (23)
  18. Brewers Fayre (20)
  19. Prezzo (17)
  20. KFC (14)
  21. Burger King (10)

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