Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kid-Friendly Dining Guide Announces Platinum Plate Award Winners is the kid-friendly dining authority listing restaurants that are kid-friendly and teaching restaurants how to better serve families with kids. The results of the annual Platinum Plate Awards have been announced naming chains and independents as award winners across 12 categories.

The nomination process began in January, 2010. Consumers were invited to nominate their favorites and restaurants were encouraged to nominate themselves.

“The Platinum Plate Awards are distinguished by a combination of consumer’s votes and kid-friendly restaurant expertise. In this day and age, restaurants should be doing more and the ones that do should be recognized,” said Julie Casey, The Restaurant Mom and founder of
The 2010 MKP Platinum Plate Award Winners are:


Best Kid-Friendly, Large Chain Nominees: Applebees, Denny’s, IHOP, Pizza Hut
Winner: Denny’s

Best Kid-Friendly, Medium Chain Nominees: BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Mimi’s Café, California Pizza Kitchen, Texas Roadhouse
Winner: Mimi’s Cafe

Best Kid-Friendly Small/Regional Nominees: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., California Tortilla, Quaker Steak & Lube, Tumbleweed Southwest Grill
Winner: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Best Kid-Friendly Independent Nominees: Clyde’s, The Flying Pizza Company, Scotty’s Brewhouse
Winner: Scotty’s Brewhouse

Best Kids' Menu (Food) Nominees: 5 & Diner, Genghis Grill, Hard Rock Cafe, Iron Hill Brewery
Winner: Iron Hill Brewery

Most Kid-Friendly Amenities Nominees: Chick-Fil-A, Cool-de-Sac, Family Grounds Cafe
Winner: Cool-de-Sac

Best Kid-Friendly Community Partner
Winner: California Pizza Kitchen, Irvine

Best Family Value Nominees: Bob Evans, Denny’s, Subway
Winner: Bob Evans

Best Kids’ Activities, Younger Kids Nominees: Big Boy Restaurants, Miller’s Ale House, O’Charley’s, Steak-n-Shake,
Winner: Miller’s Ale House

Best Kids’ Activities, Older Kids Nominees: Buffalo Wild Wings, Rainforest Cafe, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
Winner: BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse

Healthiest Kids’ Menu, Independent
Winner: Green Day Café

Healthiest Kids’ Menu, Chain Nominees: Boston Market, Panera, Subway
Winner: Subway

Best Kid-Friendly Service
Winner: The Flying Pizza Company

Best Grown Ups Night Out, Independent Nominees: 1492 Tapas Bar, JiRaffe, Park Plaza Gardens, Sabor Latin Bistro
Winner: Sabor Latin Bistro

Best Grown Ups Night Out, Chain Nominees: Seasons 52, Taverna Opa, The Melting Pot
Winner: The Melting Pot

The Platinum Plate Awards are an honor for a restaurant to be awarded. Families with kids make up a large portion of the population and the restaurants that recognize this market segment should be rewarded for their accomplishments. is the industry leader in kid-friendly dining. Conducting research since 2007, MKP has identified what is important to parents when they take kids out to eat. Restaurants are listed on and The Restaurant Mom teaches restaurants how to increase revenues through repeat visits and higher check averages with this segment.

Watch the awards presentation at

Monday, June 7, 2010

Is Your Favorite Restaurant "Dad-Friendly"?

Recently my hubby played Mr. Mom for the day so that I could attend some meetings. After missing some important milestones last year spending time in Iraq, he has made it his mission to be a very hands-on Dad. So he did what every fun dad who can’t cook did; he took them to McDonald’s. Plus, they have an indoor playground. Fun AND food…BONUS! After eating what we all know is not the most nutritious of meals of greasy cheeseburgers and French fries, but the only sustenance my babies live on these days, they were rewarded with time to burn those excessive calories on the jungle gym.

Ah…these precious moments hubby is enjoying watching Jack play with his little sister. Er! Stop! Houston we have a problem! The cheeseburger has kicked in and Jack has a blowout. What to do? Ok. Breath. Don’t panic. What would Mommy do? She’s always so calm and organized and can change both babies at once while simultaneously writing her blog and making a delicious meal. (OK, I embellished a bit). He’s been in battle. He fights crime everyday and puts away bad guys. Certainly changing a baby’s diaper in a restaurant should be a piece of cake, right? He quickly, but calmly corrals both children and takes them to the men’s room to clean up Jack. But this McDonald’s, one of the most “Kid-Friendly” restaurants on planet Earth doesn’t have a changing table in the men’s room. Now what? Hubby is faced with the challenge of putting Jack on a pad on the dirty floor while trying to keep Zoe from splashing in the toilet like she was trying to feed the stingrays at Miami Seaquarium and attempt to clean Jack up so he can high-tail it out of there. Welcome to my world Honey!

At, we have spent 3 years researching what parents across the country look for in a Kid-Friendly restaurant, and of the Top 30 Attributes, a “Changing Table in Men’s and Women’s Restrooms” ranks number 16 and 65% of parents tell us it is Extremely or Very Important , and “Changing Tables are Equipped with Cloths” came in at number 29. And according to research from Koala Kare Products, baby changing stations are equal in importance to childrens’ meals and family-sized restroom. Further, Koala Kare’s research from a national market study indicated that 77% of parents have used baby changing stations and 90% say they use them at least monthly and McDonald’s doesn’t even have one in their men’s room?

An indoor playground runs between $10,000 - $65,000, plus liability insurance, to make a restaurant kid-friendly, and the cost of a baby changing station in a restroom? Under $200! If a restaurant like McDonald’s is willing to invest tens of thousands of dollars in kid-friendliness, why not a couple hundred dollars to make their restaurant “Dad-Friendly”? And here’s another idea for those of us with more than one child. Koala Kare makes Child Protection Seats that allow parents to comfortably secure children while attending to other matters in the restroom for under $100. That sure would have come in handy with baby Zoe!, a division of Kid Friendly Restaurants, seeks out restaurants that are kid-friendly or family friendly. But until this incident, I never put much thought into whether or not they were “Dad-Friendly”. I was talking with one of my restaurant clients recently about the lack of changing tables in the men’s rooms of some of their restaurants and he asked me, “Do you make your husband change diapers”? You bet I do! So the next time you are in your favorite Kid-Friendly restaurant, check around to see if it’s “Dad-Friendly”!