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OFFER HEALTHIER OPTIONS YEAR-ROUND

Posted on January 17 2018

Losing weight, maintaining a healthier lifestyle, and spending less money are some of the top New Year’s resolutions. Although this isn’t always the best thing for professionals in an industry that revolves around food, it is possible to make your menu more appealing to these individuals and keep them coming to your restaurant. So, for your restaurant’s New Year’s resolution, try slimming down your menu, so you can offer healthier options year-round.

USE SYMBOLS

Many restaurants, like Outback Steakhouse, offer healthier alternatives all the time, without making their menu any longer than it already is. To do this, simply add a legend to your menu, and make sure it’s visible to your customers. Then, place symbols from the legend next to appetizer, salad, entree, and side options that can be prepared differently, if requested by the customer. This eliminates having to add a new section to your menu or having to tack on different entree options. If you’re thinking about adding a legend to your menu, then check out some of our symbols ideas below:

  • Grill images show that chicken sandwiches, patties, and nuggets can be grilled rather than sautéed or deep fried.
  • Leaf symbols show that a pasta dish, sandwich, wrap, or salad can be made vegetarian.
  • A “V” shows that certain vegetarian dishes can be made vegan.
  • Grain images show that sandwiches and subs can be made with whole grain bread.
  • Zig-zag symbols show that crab cakes, seafood, meats, and poultry can be broiled.
  • Vegetable symbols show that certain meals can be made with organic ingredients.
  • An image that says “Sugar Free” can be used to show that drinks and desserts can be made without sugar.

OFFER LUNCH-SIZED PORTIONS FOR DINNER

Even when people vow to lead a healthier lifestyle in the New Year, they may still want to enjoy a night out with friends. Although they may not opt for the healthiest meal option, they will appreciate that their favorite entree is available in a smaller, lunch-size portion and at a cheaper price. For the people who think a grilled salmon entree with a loaded baked potato, vegetables, and side salad is just too much to eat, offer them a low-calorie version of that meal. Instead, don’t add butter to the salmon, offer a plain baked potato, portion out half the amount of buttery vegetables, and dress the salad with a light vinaigrette. These simple swaps can turn a 700 calorie meal into a 400 calorie option. Offering smaller portions also helps your restaurant limit its amount of wasted food.

SHOW CALORIE COUNTS

When people try to lose weight, they usually start counting calories. Since many diet apps require users to log their caloric intake, showing these numbers right on the menu will help customers record their data more quickly. Plus, the FDA has required that most chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments make this nutritional information available on their menus and menu boards, since Americans eat and drink about one third of their calories away from home. Check out some of the restaurants that list these calorie counts below:

  • Panera Bread
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Subway
  • McDonald’s

MAKE INGREDIENT SUBSTITUTIONS

We understand that using healthier ingredient substitutions can sometimes be expensive, and these ingredients may completely change the way you want your greasy appetizers, savory entrees, or sweet desserts to taste. That’s why we’re only suggesting to make basic changes that shouldn’t add too much to your spending costs or alter the look and flavor of your food. Check out some of our tips below:

  • Use higher-quality fryer oil when deep frying fries, tenders, onion rings, and mozzarella sticks. Try to stay away from oils with higher levels of polyunsaturated fats.
  • Opt for sugar-free sweeteners and flavoring syrups when making cocktails.
  • Use freshly-squeezed fruit juices and natural extracts in sauces, baked goods, and entrees.
  • Drizzle olive oil over top of vegetables rather than soak them in butter.
  • Season your woks and fry pans to form a natural non-stick cooking surface. This eliminates the need to add unnecessary fat to your meals. Plus, it gives your foods a distinct flavor guests won’t find anywhere else.
  • Offer brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Use olive oil and vinegar instead of creamy, fatty dressings.
  • Cook with low-sodium soy sauce and don’t add a lot of salt to your meals.
  • Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, when possible.
  • Offer Leaner Cuts of Meat

Although it’s pretty much impossible to discourage carnivores from ordering a juicy cheeseburger, a savory rib-eye, or fried chicken legs, it is possible to offer healthier alternatives to these fattening options. By cooking with leaner cuts of meat, customers can cut out half the amount of fat and calories, allowing them to stick to their New Year’s resolutions. When planning out your meat entrees and daily specials, be sure to consider some of the following:

  • Offer steaks with sirloin or round in the title, since these tend to have lower fat contents than rib-eyes.
  • Use ground beef that’s at least 83% lean.
  • Take the skin off chicken, and try to serve light meat instead of dark meat.
  • Take the skin off any cut of fish.
  • Cook lean cuts of meat in a healthy way. For example, broil or grill your meat, fish, or poultry rather than sautéed or deep fry it.
  • Don’t add any unnecessary fats, like butter or cream, when preparing your lean cuts.
  • Offer red meat burger alternatives, like turkey, chicken, bean, and vegetable burgers.

If you’re worried about customers watching their calories and counting their dollars this New Year, then try slimming down your menu. By implementing some of the ideas we’ve gone over above, you’ll be able to adapt your menu to keep the resolutioners coming into your restaurant for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

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