What will your menu say to your customers?

The jury has reached a verdict. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay for now. With that comes a rule that anyone who has tried to diet and dine out will appreciate. Menu Labeling. The art of exposing the truth about the nutritional value of the entrees bigger chain restaurant’s serve. For the restaurant owners, they have some work to do but for the rest of America, they get to sit back and enjoy a deliciously cooked meal served to them and their families without the guilt. Diners can expect a lot of changes to the menus of their familiar chain establishments in the next 6-12 months.

The biggest change will come with the simple fact that the dishes with the highest calorie counts are going to stick out on their newly printed menus like a sore thumb. This has led restaurants to seek out low-calorie, low-fat, heart healthy options for their patrons. With the anticipation of these rules, many restaurants have been testing out their healthier menu items over the years. Not only have they been surprised at the overall positive reaction to their lighter menu options, they have been shocked at how in-demand these items are. Each year, their sales have multiplied. It is clear that the people want to feel good about the food they are putting in their mouths.

Most diners are conscious of the fact that when they eat out, they are most likely going to consume more than necessary. Portion sizes are out of control. Foods are fried and stuffed with fattening ingredients because, let’s face it, they taste better like that. But when a person sits down to peruse a menu that has the calorie counts listed next to the name, there is a good chance that they are going to shift their normal ordering thought process. That fried chicken and loaded mashed potatoes meal that is 98,000,000 calories will all of a sudden look less appealing to the baked lemon chicken with roasted potatoes that is 500 calories. Restaurants are seeing this trend and taking full advantage of it.

By cutting a few corners and investing in healthier ingredients, restaurant owners are seeing that the change to their menu is not keeping their clients from coming back. With the rise of health-related issues, patrons are no longer avoiding their favorite places to eat. They know that they can sit down with their family, friends or coworkers and order an entree that their doctor would approve of. They might even inspire the rest of the table to choose a healthier option. They walk out the door smiling. Feeling good about themselves and the meal. This is what dining is all about.

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