Win over health-conscious diners by offering them more choices and accommodating their food preferences. When people look for ways to get healthier, they are looking for more, not less: more healthy snacks, more exercise, more whole grains, more fruits and vegetables, says Steve Walton, general manager at Healthfocus.
Restaurants have an opportunity to give today’s diners more of what they want. Here are five tips from the National Restaurant Association 2013 Nutrition Study Group meeting.
- Give customers what they want. For example, Chick-fil-A spent 10 years designing a new grill to produce juicy grilled chicken for an upcoming sandwich, said Brian Wray, manager of product strategy and development during a tour of the company’s new research and development facility. Chick-fil-A will serve the new sandwich on a wheat bun.
- Get educated on allergens. Train your employees on cleaning, sanitizing, and emergency protocol. For example, never move a person that is having an allergic reaction. Food allergies – including wheat, peanuts, eggs and shellfish – can be life-threatening. Post an allergen chart and make sure to update it regularly. The ServSafe Allergens Online Course helps front- and back-of-the-house employees better accommodate the growing number of guests with food allergies.
- Make menu swaps to accommodate lactose-intolerant guests. For example, some cheeses, such as cheddar, are low in lactose and the enzymes in Greek yogurt help the body to process lactose.
- Accommodate gluten-free guests. For example, add “gluten-free certified” products to your menu and avoid cross-contamination by having separate fryers and pots for gluten-free items.
- Educate diners about calories. Federal law soon will require that many restaurants put nutritional information on their menus, but research conducted by Darden Restaurants found that consumers lack knowledge about calories. Restaurants will have to educate consumers about nutrition in our meals, said Cheryl Dolven, Darden’s director of health and wellness.
SOURCE: National Restaurant Association