People want to eat healthfully. That’s not a ‘craze’ or a fad; it’s a part of the human condition. We may change what we call healthful, and we may stop focusing on our health sometimes, but we want to eat healthfully. Any restaurant that accommodates that wish will reap the rewards. The question is how do you make a menu that caters to that desire without putting undue stress on your chef. New menu items can mean extra work for everyone and still not make anything more likely to promote health. There are a couple easy ways to revamp your menu so that it provides consumers with what they want.
1. Identify The Healthful Choices That You Are Already Serving
Ordering healthful meals can sometimes come down to information. If you are already serving some dishes that are pretty good for people’s health, identify them on the menu. You can give them their own section, or you can make a symbol to identify them, and add a key at the bottom of the menu explaining what you mean. This has the benefit of not adding anything to your workload or requiring you to buy anything new. You are only out the expense of reprinting your menu, and you will recoup that easily from all the people who will buy meals they previously wouldn’t have considered.
2. Offer Smaller Servings As An Option
“Everything in moderation” is a great motto when it comes to people’s health, and most folks know it. Again, you don’t have to radically alter anything. Merely state somewhere that if customers would like a smaller portion of something -say, ice cream- you could accommodate that. Think how many more people on a diet would order dessert if they could be certain that the item in question would be reasonably sized. This also stretches the food dollar a little bit further.
3. Offer A More Healthful Version Of A Traditional Dish
Say you have a traditional dish involving fried chicken. Offering a version of this dish with grilled chicken instead lets customers that are watching what they eat enjoy something they know they like without guilt. Most dishes need only a little tweak to make them a better option, and it will help people make that choice if they recognize the dish.
4. Add One Or Two Simple And Explicitly Healthful Options
Having a dish of fresh fruit and a little side salad as options costs you little, and they will meet just about everyone’s dietary needs. They quickly pay for themselves as replacements for less healthful options as you can add a surcharge for making the switch. Using them as side dishes is a good way to get diet-conscious diners to order something extra.
5. Get Creative With Your Ingredients
Sooner or later you have to fiddle with your menu, and you can take that opportunity to make some good-for-you dishes. If you already have some food items on hand that you could make into something healthful, why add to the food inventory? You have fruit and a grill already? Why not make a fruit kabob for dessert? You have tomatoes and cheese already? Why not make some stuffed tomatoes? Your customers will appreciate the variety and the health benefits.
6. Allow At Least One Mix-and-Match Type Item
Meeting everyone’s dietary needs is hard. Everyone has different requirements. Allowing at least one dish to be customized lets people meet those needs without putting a strain on your back-of-house people. Soups, sandwiches and wraps are pretty easy to make custom ordered: have all the pieces pre-made and customers can pick the pieces they want from a list. This way, you have something for customers no matter what diet they follow.
7. Offer At Least One Vegetarian Option
People can decide to try a vegetarian dish for many reasons, but one of these is that they feel it is better for their health. Giving them at least one option that is meat-less lets them at least try it for one meal.
These small changes can make your menu very appealing to anyone who cares about healthful food choices. So go ahead and review your menu: you may find it doesn’t need much work at all.
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