Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

How to Appeal to the Weight-Loss Crowd with Healthy Menu Items after the New Year

February 6, 2013

While having healthy items on your menus has become increasingly important no matter what time of year it is, the New Year is a particularly good time to blast your healthy options with extra marketing campaigns. The reason for this is that weight loss continues to be the number one resolution that everyone makes when they set their aspirations to start the New Year off right.

Therefore, it makes sense to highlight your healthy eating choices more than ever while the weight loss resolution is still fresh in everyone’s mind. Here are some key strategies you can employ to catch this demographic while it’s hot.

Calorie Counting, ‘Heart Smart’ Choices, and Low Carb Menu Options

Everyone has a different technique when it comes to weight loss. While listing the amount of calories in the food you are serving is one sure-fire way to catch the attention of the weight-loss crowd, it’s definitely not the only way. Many people who would like to lose weight aren’t as concerned about the amount of calories as they are simply about making healthy choices. Therefore, offering menu items that are healthy for the heart or simply even low in carbohydrates can be equally effective in catching the attention of people who are trying to make better choices for themselves.

Offer Smaller Portions and Options to Make Healthier Choices

Another effective strategy to entice the weight loss crowd is simply to offer smaller portion sizes and the option to make healthier choices when they order. For example, allow customers the option to substitute salads instead of fries or to buy a half plate of pasta instead of a full one. These little customization options don’t cost you anything but go a long way toward building a good relationship with your consumers.

Such choices make the customer feel like you really care about meeting their expectations and values. They get to leave feeling like they were able to meet their own healthy resolutions by supporting your establishment, and are far more likely to return as a result.

Don’t Forget about Healthy Menu Options for the Kids

As obesity becomes an ever increasing problem in our country, more and more parents are concerned about the nutritional value of what they are feeding their kids. As such, it makes sense as a restaurant owner to make health and nutrition information available to parents who want to know. Adding a ‘healthy kid’s menu’ can also be a particularly powerful marketing ploy to bring health conscious parents into your restaurant, and it is well known that parents are some of the best word-of-mouth advertisers you can ask for!

All in all, appealing to the weight loss crowd doesn’t have to be particularly difficult. You’ve probably already got several menu items that fall under the healthy eating category. Your only real job is getting the word out about your healthy options now, while dropping a few pounds is still at the top of everyone’s to-do list!

Applebee’s to Add 550 Calorie Weight Loss Dishes to Menu

February 27, 2012

You may remember my blog post a little while back about Hungry Girl mastermind Lisa Lillien teaming up with Tyson Foods to help people keep their weight-loss new year’s resolutions. It turns out they’re not the only ones getting in on the act: Applebee’s is now offering full-size low calorie dishes to its guests. As with the Hungry Girl/Tyson venture, all dishes are 550 calories or less.


How the Menu Will Help Keep New Year’s Resolutions


Their strategy is also similar to the Hungry Girl/Tyson venture. The Applebee’s chain showed in a Harris Interactive survey that fully 90% of Americans break their weight loss resolutions.


Respondents claimed that often there simply were not enough flavors in their diets, and that their weight loss programs offered too many restrictions. These are issues tackled by the Hungry Girl plan.


(Let me say right now that I don’t want to give the wrong impression; I don’t think that Applebee’s is copying Hungry Girl/Tyson, nor do I believe it is the other way around. Instead, both groups are hitting on a common problem with New Year’s weight loss resolutions, and offering tasteful solutions to those problems.)


Interestingly, the most popular response to the survey was, “I want to eat what I want, when I want.” So what is Applebee’s offering?


Applebee’s Under 550 Menu Items


Here are two of the new items featured at Applebee’s restaurants:


  • Sizzling Chili Lime Chicken. This dish features several flavors and modes of cooking, combining Asian-style skillet vegetables served with chili sauce over grilled chicken. The whole thing is laid out on a bed of rice, with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime.
  • Roasted Garlic Sirloin. This is a 7oz. sirloin steak, topped with sautéed onions. Sides include creamed spinach inside a Portabella mushroom cap, as well as herbed potatoes.


Will the new menu help people meet their New Year’s weight loss resolutions? It will probably help some people. And even if it doesn’t, it’s virtually guaranteed to get more people through Applebee’s doors this year. It’s not too late to adopt this tactic for your own operation – just like it’s not too late to invest in parent company DineEquity (NYSE:DIN)>



February 3, 2011

Jared may have been the catalyst for the “Eat Fresh” movement, but with more and more fast food chains offering healthier menu options, Subway has plenty of competition. 

Among consumer options are McDonalds fruit and yogurt parfait, fruit and maple oatmeal, multiple salad options and grilled chicken sandwiches.  In addition, Burger King offers apple “fries” as part of the children’s menu, having parents opt for a healthier substitute to traditional french fries.  And don’t forget Taco Bell.  Their “Drive Thru Diet” concept offers up 7 tasty items under 9 grams of fat, allowing their customers to really “think outside the bun”. 

It’s no wonder so many chains are providing healthier menu options to their patrons, with obesity concerns among children and adults coupled with the rising cost of healthcare due to obesity related illness, chains have figured out that consumers want healthier food choices in the same convenient drive-thru fashion.  The latest figures from Marketdata, Inc., which analyses ten major segments of the U.S. diet industry, projected an annual total at $68.7 billion spent on weight-loss products and services in 2010. 

I’m sure that American fast food pioneers, the McDonald brothers, had no idea their “Speedee Service System”, which was established in 1948 at the first McDonalds location in San Bernardino, would be used as a portal for 11 different salad option, grilled chicken sandwiches and fruit and maple oatmeal.  Gone are the days of cheeseburgers and nuggets alone, consumers can now choose something on the lighter side while tightening their budgets without loosening their belts.