Australian families can now enjoy a fine dining experience with their children without having to use technology to occupy them, thanks to a new partnership between Hot Wheels and three Melbourne hatted restaurants.

The partnership follows research conducted by Hot Wheels which found that 65 per cent of Aussie parents would take their children to a finer dining venue if there were no barriers. 

The barriers that parents feel when it comes to fine dining include what other patrons and wait staff would think of them, how their children would behave and being able to keep their children entertained at the table without resorting to technology. 

In response to the Hot Wheels research, Melbourne hatted chefs Charlie Carrington, Coskun Uysal and Guy Stanaway have teamed up with Hot Wheels to provide the popular car to children at the table. 

Mattel ANZ marketing director Jacinta Whitehead said that the business wanted to provide an innovative way for parents to reward their children. 

"For over 50 years Hot Wheels have been encouraging kids to ignite their challenger spirit through imaginative play.

"This year, Hot Wheels want to challenge parents to reward their kids with Hot Wheels instead of screens or other treats.

"As we are always challenging the norm, we wanted to do something completely out of the box.

"So, partnering with renowned chefs and putting Hot Wheels on the menu was the perfect pairing.

"As a result, children will be able to choose from a series of diecasts and will be given a unique dining racetrack (placemat) that they can then colour in and navigate around – something we believe is bound to keep them entertained," she said. 

Rare Hare executive chef Guy Stanaway said that the business wants to create an inviting atmosphere for families. 

"We are at that young family stage with two energetic kids and eating out together can be far from a relaxed event, for us and other diners!

"As a parent, it feels easy to throw a screen in front of kids to keep them still and silent, but it also means you’re creating a barrier between them and what potentially, is a really cool new type of family experience.

"By putting Hot Wheels on the menu, I want families to feel very welcome at our restaurants.

"Charlie, Coskun and I are encouraging our industry peers to accept the challenge and follow suit – no matter the venue - and find their own ways of becoming more accommodating and welcoming of families," he said. 

The Hot Wheels 'On the Menu' activation began on 03 March at Atlas Dining and ran there until 17 March. From 17 March to 31 March the activation will run at Tulum and it will conclude at Rare Hare from 31 March until Easter.

The restaurants are aware of the developing circumstances around COVID-19 and while they will continue to run the program and business as usual, they will be releasing recipes over the course of the activation too so families can have different food experiences at home if they're choosing not to venture out.

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