Industry News | February 6, 2006

NRA and Healthy Dining Help Diners Identify Healthy Options

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The National Restaurant Association (NRA) and the California-based Healthy Dining program are teaming up in an unprecedented effort aimed at enabling diners to more easily identify healthful choices at restaurants nationwide.

The new HealthyDiningFinder.com Web site will enable consumers to search for restaurants that provide nutritious options, based on criteria such as ZIP code, type of cuisine, and price range.

"In an increasingly competitive market, the Healthy Dining Program offers restaurants valuable opportunities to attract new customers, enhance customer loyalty, and position themselves as innovative industry leaders, with a competitive edge," said Erica Bohm, M.S., Healthy Dining's VP and director of strategic partnerships. She added, "A growing number of consumers are looking for more nutritious options on menus. HealthyDiningFinder.com provides Americans with a free, comprehensive, online resource offering nutrition information for healthier menu items from thousands of restaurant locations nationwide. This information is not available through any other source."

"HealthyDiningFinder.com is a terrific win-win for restaurants and diners alike," said Steven C. Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the NRA. "We encourage restaurants to become part of this important effort."

A major consumer launch of the new Web site is slated for mid-2006, which will be supported by a national campaign that will include promotion of participating restaurants. The campaign will include a strong public relations effort to gain media attention for HealthyDiningFinder.com and its restaurant partners, advocacy and direct-to-consumer marketing, as well as outreach to numerous channels that are striving to find sensible approaches to address the issue of obesity and overweight Americans. These include health professionals and health organizations, weight management programs, gyms and health clubs, health insurance companies, businesses and business groups, frequent diners, and travelers.

All restaurant types - from quick-service to fine dining, from independents to the nation's largest chains - are invited to enroll in the program. "With Americans eating out more frequently today and facing increasing dietary issues, the availability of more nutritious options - not only at home, but also in all types of restaurants - is progressively more important," adds Bohm.

HealthyDiningFinder.com has already received favorable industry recognition ahead of its formal launch. In August 2005, the Web site was awarded the 'People's Choice Award for Best Technology' at the Western Foodservice Expo.

Healthy Dining has been providing nutrition analysis and related promotion services to Southern California restaurants since 1990. "HealthyDiningFinder.com builds upon the success of Healthy Dining in Southern California and brings together several contemporary lifestyle trends: dining out, nutrition, and the Internet," explains Bohm.

This effort provides participating restaurants with a reasonable and cost-effective strategy to implement a nutrition component into operations with numerous marketing and public relations benefits. In addition, it represents a voluntary and proactive demonstration of the restaurant industry's commitment to supporting healthier lifestyles. The project is funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

HealthyDiningFinder.com is a ground-breaking initiative to promote the healthful choices of partnering restaurants to consumers nationwide. In conjunction with the National Restaurant Association, the new Web site will offer diners the convenience of finding restaurants and cuisines to support their dietary needs. Healthy Dining's team of culinary nutrition experts can provide restaurants with nutrition guidance and analysis services, if needed.