Additional Resources

Restaurants add ‘better-for-you’ menu items

Nation's Restaurant News

More restaurant chains are jumping on the better-for-you bandwagon, as Luby’s beefs up its low-calorie options, Tony Roma’s launches a Low Cal Temptations campaign, Chick-fil-A introduces more healthful kids items and TCBY plans a higher-protein frozen yogurt platform. Luby’s, the Houston-based cafeteria chain, has launched a Livin’Smart menu of items with fewer than 600 calories. The 178-unit chain now has more than 60 such items, including such entrées as shrimp and crawfish jambalaya, chicken piccata and mushroom turkey chopped steak. Lower-calorie sides include almond rice, lemon roasted asparagus and squash sauté. At least five Livin’Smart entrées and sides are available every day at all Luby’s locations. Tony Roma’s has introduced a Low Cal Temptations campaign featuring a 180-calorie strawberry pecan salad for $5 and a 700-calorie flat iron steak topped with Japanese sweet-and-sour katsu sauce for $17. The casual-dining chain also has added a 144-calorie serving of mashed sweet potatoes… read more

Vegan/Gluten-Free Station Rocks SMU

Food Management

The newest addition to the dining mix at Southern Methodist University is a vegan/gluten-free station called “Healthy on the Hilltop” that was recently launched in response to student feedback. The eatery, managed by SMU’s campus dining services provider Aramark Campus Services, offers meals that include an entrée, two sides and a dessert but are 600 calories or less. “About five years ago we wanted to do something to offset the ‘Freshman 15’ and came up with a spa cuisine concept that we then enhanced that with a program that delivered full meals under 600 calories,” says Aramark District Manager Michael Marr. “It worked well, but after a couple years we began noticing a growing number of students prone to Celiac disease, so we incorporated vegan and gluten-free selections into the mix as well.” Healthy on the Hillside is part of the board plan and is located in the all-you-care-to-eat Real… read more

A Look at Today’s Consumer

Nation's Restaurant News

NRA report outlines consumers’ economic attitudes, spending plans, top restaurant preferences In an economic climate that remains challenging, restaurant operators must understand what motivates consumers to select one restaurant over another, according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast, released earlier this week. The report, which projected that restaurant industry sales will reach a record high of $632 billion in 2012, offers insight into the minds of consumers, their financial situation and spending patterns following a year when many consumers didn’t feel the economy improved at all. A survey in December 2011 found that 92 percent of adults described the current state of the economy as either “fair” or “poor,” the same assessment given at the end of 2010. Their outlook for the year ahead was even less optimistic. The report found that 3 out of 10 adults said they think the economy will get better in 2012, while… read more

Food Trends for 2012

Food Management

“Super sandwiches: Upscale hot dogs, exotic subs, premium grilled cheese. The key will be ingredients like alternative breads (pancakes, waffles, pretzels or popovers used to build a sandwich) and flavorful condiments (chutney, kimchi, savory jams, specialty ketchup and mustard).” “Eggs everywhere. This is a revitalized protein used as a topper for burgers/sandwiches, on pizza, pasta and salads; in sweet and savory omelets, frittatas and custards. Cheap, nutritious and comforting, eggs are going through a major revival on menus across the board.” — Nancy Kruse, president of The Kruse Company, author of the Kruse Report “Stealth health. In a survey last fall, more than 73 percent of our students wanted more healthy choices. Stealth health means making food healthier ‘behind the scenes,’ including reducing sodium, serving more vegetables and whole grains and promoting healthy eating.” “Noodles, noodles and more noodles. From udon to pho, our customers cannot get enough of them.”… read more

When Food is Poetry

Restaurant Hospitality

In a new column, Bellamy: Bean There, Ate That, Restaurant Hospitality executive food editor Gail Bellamy shares a personal take on food and the restaurant industry. In my other life as a poet, I’ve discovered that food serves as a great metaphor. It’s a shortcut to learning about people. Name an ingredient, and chances are it will stir memories and stories in the minds of your customers. Ask people about their favorite food, and you’re likely to learn a little more about them. That’s because food and drink connect us to our childhood, our family and our ethnic heritage. Stories about food have gained an important place on today’s menu—who produced the food, where it’s from, and how it’s prepared. The language of food on menus ranges from evocative descriptions—selling the sizzle—to whimsical flights of fancy. The French chef Auguste Escoffier (“the king of chefs and the chef of kings”) made the connection… read more