Restaurants must overcome any aversion to children in public and encourage youngsters to ask their parents to eat out, says a new report.
Datamonitor's Modern British Consumer Lifestyles report finds that eating out is growing by 4.5% each year.
But it reveals a huge gap between the habits of "the elite", a lucrative but small proportion of consumers, and those of large families, which Datamonitor says offer "one of the most exciting opportunities in the marketplace".
To overcome public views that restaurants are for adults and an expensive extravagance for kids, restaurateurs should bring down prices to claw back the large amounts currently spent by families at supermarkets, says the report.
It adds that menus, decor, service and marketing should be tailored to prompt children themselves to demand a visit, as tried by fast food chains such as McDonald's.
l Call 0171-625 8548 for a copy of the report, priced at £295.