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The French are known for their cuisine and wonderful cafe culture. But as many countries adopt fast food as the answer to a quick family meal, we wondered if French families were embracing the trend too. Do children change french dining preferences? This summer, we surveyed parents in France to understand family restaurant preferences and habits. This article is also available in French. 

A child’s age can undoubtedly be a factor when deciding where and when to dine in France. 58% of French parents surveyed waited until their child was at least a year old before taking them out of the house to a restaurant. Nearly 20% waited until their child was at least four years old to attend meals out. 

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Source: PureSpectrum Insights Platform

Restaurant Type Matters

When asked what type of restaurants they most preferred to take their children to, a majority of French parents identified fast food restaurants as their first choice. This preference was followed by buffets and fast food with healthy options. Restaurants with great chefs were the least popular among french parents. 

Does this mean that French parents don’t eat the food of great chefs? Not quite. Over half (54%) of parents we surveyed admitted eating at different restaurants than those chosen for their children. However, over 20% also acknowledged that their children have total control over the restaurant selection when dining out as a family.

Breaking Down Family Dining Incentives

With so many French parents choosing to dine at fast food establishments, we asked what the motivating factors were for patronage. The first reason was the existence of a kid’s menu that their children favor. The fact that fast food is “easy” was the second most popular reason selected. Parents who aren’t in favor of their families eating fast food cited sugar consumption as their primary concern, followed by the fact that they didn’t find the food to be “good.”

Like many countries, French parents are bombarded with choices when taking their children out to eat. We broke down our respondent pool by children’s ages to better understand what kind of incentives might sway favoritism to a particular brand. 54% of french parents with young children (ages 2-5) would prefer that a restaurant give a discount for their children’s meals vs. receiving a gift. This preference continues to grow in popularity the older the child is. 77% of parents with children over ten would prefer a discount incentive. 

Digging Deeper Into the Data Set

Even if French families aren’t regularly dining at fancy cafes with their children, it’s clear that they are enjoying meals as a family outside of the home. When asked to describe the incentive for taking children out to eat, themes of sharing moments, family togetherness, and friendliness were most commonly given by our respondents. 

purespectrum marketplace filtering by gender screen recording

Source: PureSpectrum Insights Platform

If you are curious to read more insights collected on this topic, please reach out to our team in the form below. The PureSpectrum Platform and data set will also be previewing at the  Printemps des Études. Please find us at l’Agora 2 on September 29th and 30th.

PureSpectrum offers the ability to sample globally with advanced targeting to reach niche demographics. Our sample Marketplace has easy-to-use features such as Multi-Country that can cut setup time by 30-40% on international studies. Our team is also available to assist with survey creation and fielding, and the Insights Platform provides easy-to-read graphs and instant crosstabs. Want to learn more? 


PureSpectrum interviewed 323 respondents between July 27, 2022, and August 01, 2022, using the PureSpectrum Insights Platform. The platform is integrated with the PureSpectrum Marketplace, which combines proprietary measurement tools and third-party data validation to collect high-quality insights quickly. We targeted (18+) parents of different aged children within France. This study uses a 95% confidence level to examine the data.


About PureSpectrum 

PureSpectrum offers a complete end-to-end market research and insights platform, helping insights professionals make decisions more efficiently, and faster than ever before. Awarded MR Supplier of the Year at the 2021 Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards, PureSpectrum is recognized for industry-leading data quality. PureSpectrum developed the respondent-level scoring system,  PureScore™, and believes their continued success stems from their talent density and dedication to simplicity and quality.

In the few years since its inception, PureSpectrum has been named one of the Fastest Growing Companies in North America on Deloitte’s Fast 500 since 2020, and ranked for three years in a row on the GRIT Top 50 Most Innovative List and the Inc. 5000 lists.