Aussie parents spending thousands dining out
EXCLUSIVE: KIDS as young as two are being treated to adult dining - and parents are nonplussed about the costs involved.
Households are splashing on average about $100 per restaurant outing or almost $2300 per year, new research has revealed.
And once their tiny tots reach 22 months they are happy to take them out and about to restaurants to give their tastebuds a serious workout.
New independent research commissioned on behalf of restaurant reservation platform OpenTable found 39 per cent of parents are happy to spend more than $100 when dining out with their gourmet kids.
As for kids meals, $14 is the average price parents are willing to fork out for each child's meal.
OpenTable's spokesman Tim Domelow said the research also revealed families are happy to spend up on twice a month on restaurant meals.
"Australians are known for being advocates for dining out so it's no surprise that our children are being exposed to gourmet tendencies from a young age," he said.
"Parents these days are feeling much more confident starting their children even before they are two (to eating out)."
The research also showed on average Australians are splashing $8.9 billion annually to dine out.
Mr Domelow said many younger families did not want to change their lifestyles after having children so eating out regularly was becoming the norm.
But the data found many diners are a picky bunch when choosing their next eatery.
The most important things parents look for when dining is a play area with children's toys (55 per cent), a restaurant with colouring books and pencils (50 per cent) and a place that has a pram-friendly layout (38 per cent.)
The Restaurant and Catering Association's chief executive officer Juliana Payne said "there's a full spread of restaurants" for diners to choose from.
"If people do have small kids or those in a pram or high chair should do their research, ring the restaurant or check the website beforehand," she said.
"Consumers know very well what they want to spend and what they spend it on.
"People generally know what they want to spend and they will adjust accordingly."
Ms Payne said the restaurant industry was "so competitive" so restaurants had to make sure they could cater for all types of diners.