A recent study conducted by the Hudson Institute proves a 5.5% sales increase for restaurants that tailor their menus to offer healthier items.
The study supports the many people who are embracing a healthier lifestyle by opting for foods with lower calories. Findings went on to prove that while sales of high-caloric items in restaurants dropped by 4.2%, sales of healthier items increased by 2.5%. What does this mean for restaurant owners? If your menu is built on fried foods and rich sugary drinks, you could be losing business and the opportunity to bring in additional capital.
Pair this study with the looming federal regulations that would require a lot of fast food and franchised-run businesses to post nutritional information – it seems to be in the best interest of your store and your customers to freshen things up with lighter, healthier options. So, how can your restaurant make the switch?
- Consider adding a ‘lighter options’ section to your menu. People will be more willing to visit your restaurant if they know they have healthy alternatives readily available to them.
- Offer your same great dishes in half-sized portions as well.
- Offer sides like salads or fruit as alternatives to high caloric sides like French fries and macaroni.
- Offer whole wheat options on your pasta and bread dishes.
- For protein items that are fried, offer the option of grilling and broiling. And in recipies where ground beef is used (i.e. burgers, meatballs, and tacos) offer a leaner ground turkey version.
- Mark on your existing menu items that are under 500 calories, so guests can easily assess their healthiest options while deciding on what to eat.
- Trade in vegetable oil for organic virgin coconut oil, which is a much healthier option, is widely available and more reasonably priced than you would think.
- Invest some time in vamping up your salad section with fresh fruits, vegetables and lighter dressings.
Healthier strides can already be seen in some popular fast food franchises. Taco bell is now offering a “Fresco Menu” which consists of their same original menu items minus the cheese and sauces. Both McDonalds and Burger King developed leaner burger choices and increased their salad options while Wendy’s is working on an app that will allow customers of customize their order based on calorie count. While for years these restaurants have marketed their food around the word “value” (more bang for your buck) sales, customers and studies are urging them to redirect their focus and zero-in on words like “fresh” and “quality”. Business conscious restaurant owners would be wise to jump on board.
Regardless of what inspires you to make the change, your best bet is to check in with your customers first. Take the time to figure out what menu changes they’d like to see as you provide them with healthier options. Include offers for those who fill out customer surveys or conduct a poll on your social media pages. With healthier options and increased sales, this healthy revolution could prove a win-win situation for companies and customers alike.