In 2015, any company that wants a healthy bottom line has to think about healthy menu offerings. “Consumers’ definitions of health will continue to evolve, and descriptors like ‘fresh,’ ‘local,’ and ‘sustainable’ will lose their elitist associations and be insisted upon by all consumers, not just the affluent and the activists,” Technomic wrote in its “5 Ways Food Brands Get ‘FIT’ for the Future” guidelines in June.
But it’s one thing to talk the talk and show consumers you’re pandering to their health concerns. It’s another entirely for executives to walk the walk and actually lead healthy lifestyles themselves. We found seven who are doing just that, all while offering their health-conscious fans plenty to be excited about.
Randy Garutti / Shake Shack
How Shake Shack stays healthy: A burger chain might not seem like the most obvious host for an athletic club, but the Shack Track & Field club has exploded since a general manager (and triathlete) launched it at a D.C. store about three years ago. “This thing has turned into its own brand,” Garutti says. “We have running chapters, we have biking, we have yoga, we have softball. Shack Track & Field exists in London at the Shake Shack there, and it exists in Moscow. … You know that at the end of it you’re going to be rewarded with a burger and a beer and be with people who have a healthy outlook on life.”
How Garutti stays healthy: Garutti isn’t able to run with the Shack Track & Field club—he suffered a foot injury during a basketball game about 10 years ago—but he’s always made it his mission to incorporate fitness into his life. His first restaurant job after he graduated from Cornell University was in Aspen, Colorado, and he would do the bookkeeping at 6 a.m., catch the first gondola, ski all day, and then run the restaurant at night. When he moved to Maui, Hawaii, for his second restaurant job, Garutti followed a similar schedule, but with surfing replacing skiing. After that, he moved to Seattle and lived on a houseboat, so he would kayak in the middle of the day.
“I’ve just had good role models in life who work hard and eat well,” he says. Garutti now takes one or two Bikram yoga classes a week and bikes outside or takes classes at SoulCycle—a trendy indoor-cycling studio—two to three times a week. “When you run a burger company like I do, it’s important for me to lead that way,” he says. “If you looked around our office right now, you’d see about seven or eight bikes here of team members who bike into work from Brooklyn or wherever they live.” Someone in the office also volunteers to lead a yoga session every Wednesday afternoon. “We’re constantly just trying to get physical around here,” Garutti says.
Dan Kish / Panera Bread
Senior vice president of food
How Panera stays healthy: In May, Panera announced its “No-No List,” which included more than 150 artificial ingredients that the chain vowed to phase out of its stores by the end of 2016. Moving forward, Panera plans to focus on what it calls “optionality,” or providing options to any customer, regardless of their dietary restrictions. “There’s a lot of mixing and matching we can do,” Kish says.
How Kish stays healthy: “I’m a bit of a technology geek, so I’ve really enjoyed the fitness band,” Kish says. The chef also runs three to four times a week (usually for a distance of two or three miles) and had his wife’s personal trainer design a workout he can do in the comfort of his hotel room when he’s on the road.
“When I don’t want to go to a gym or it’s raining outside, I have this little key sheet of workouts I can do in 15 minutes to break a sweat, get my heart rate up, and then I feel great,” he says.
In terms of eating healthy, Kish says he was “raised on good, clean flavors made with local ingredients”—which wasn’t so hard considering his parents grew their own food. “It wasn’t trendy; it was a necessity,” he says. Now he continues to put an emphasis on clean and natural ingredients in his own eating routine—although he also allows the occasional indulgence. “For me, it’s really simple,” Kish says. “Clean and simple is always better, and great food comes from great ingredients.”
Keith Hertling / Jersey Mike’s
Vice president of operations
How Jersey Mike’s stays healthy: Jersey Mike’s recent campaign, “Ingredients Matter,” emphasizes the company’s commitment to fresh and high-quality ingredients, like its hand-sliced meats and its fresh-baked breads.
How Hertling stays healthy: Hertling has been a fitness buff since college, when he became a strength and conditioning coach. That made him the obvious choice to consult when Jersey Mike’s CEO, Peter Cancro, decided in 2010 he wanted to install a free gym at the company’s corporate office.
“I asked him for a budget, and he said, ‘Put the best stuff you can find in it,’” Hertling says. The 2,500-square-foot facility includes treadmills, climbers, ellipticals, recumbent and upright bikes, a rowing machine, free weights, kettlebells, and more. A personal trainer also comes in once a day to lead boot camp–like classes.
Hertling uses the gym himself, usually in the morning. During the summer, he’ll do a 30-minute total-body weight-training regimen three times a week, as well as run, bike, and swim. During the winter, he increases his weight training to four times per week.
Neville Craw / Arby’s
Corporate executive chef and senior director of product development and innovation
How Arby’s stays healthy: Almost half of the company’s core menu items have more than 20 grams of protein—“Our whole brand movement is toward being protein-focused,” Craw says—but that’s not the only nutritional benefit Arby’s can boast. More than a third of its sandwiches contain fewer than 500 calories.
How Craw stays healthy: Before this year, Craw hadn’t been on a bicycle since high school. But he put the old cliché about riding a bike to the test when No Kid Hungry asked him to sign up for Chefs Cycle, a three-day, 300-mile charity event that raised funds to help feed hungry children.
“Besides the amazing cause, which was numero uno for why I did [Chefs Cycle], part of it was to sink my teeth into a different activity,” he says. The chef, whose previous fitness regimen focused on walking, got a bike and started cycling three times a week about three and a half months before the race, working up to 30–70-mile rides. He ended up raising more than $14,000—and his cycling career isn’t over just because he’s crossed the finish line.
“I’ve gotten really into it and excited about getting better and better,” he says. “Long story short is this was new to me, and now I’m hooked.”
Bryn Davis / BRYN & DANE’s
How BRYN & DANE’s stays healthy: When BRYN & DANE’s opened its first location three years ago, it was designed to reverse the lack of healthy quick-serve options Davis had during his personal weight-loss journey. It serves customers salads, wraps, and smoothies in three minutes or less, and has a drive thru for people who don’t want to leave their cars to eat a nutritious meal. Today, the company has three locations and is in the process of signing a lease on its fourth. Digital menus allow it to change its offerings in real time to cater to customers’ preferences.
How Davis stays healthy: When he was in high school, Davis rowed on the crew team. “I was 160 pounds, could eat whatever I wanted, and was just in phenomenal shape,” he says. “When I went to college, I decided not to row. And instead of putting on the freshman 15, I ended up putting on the freshman 70.” A lack of knowledge on nutrition was part of the problem. “I really had no idea what the differences between protein and carbohydrates and fats really were,” he says.
When a doctor told Davis that he was obese and should make some drastic changes in his life, he took the advice to heart. He started working out with his roommates immediately, did all of the research he could about how to eat healthy, and lost the excess pounds he’d put on in about six months.
That was almost 10 years ago, but Davis still works out five times a week. “And our headquarters are on top of a BRYN & DANE’s,” he says, “so I’m able to eat a high-protein egg scramble in the morning. I’ll do a salad for lunch, a smoothie in the afternoon, and a salad or wrap for dinner.”
Ric Scicchitano / Corner Bakery Café
Executive vice president of food and supply chain
How Corner Bakery CafÉ stays healthy: The chain prides itself on offering customers more than 100 combinations of sandwiches, salads, and soups that clock in at less than 600 calories, and as part of its efforts to add more options for health-conscious consumers, it recently introduced a new “Greens & Grains” line. “We’ve always strived to provide a balance of good-for-you menu items along with full nutritional disclosure,” Scicchitano says.
How Scicchitano stays healthy: When Scicchitano graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1991, he was an avid cyclist, and he estimates that he weighed about 175 pounds. By 2000, his cycling habit had fallen by the wayside, and he was nearly 250 pounds. “That’s when I dusted off the old mountain bike and hopped on the trail,” he says.
Scicchitano overhauled his eating habits, too. “I do the 80/20 rule,” he says, noting the strategy in which a person eats healthily 80 percent of the time. And because his job often requires bacon or pastry tasting, those indulgences he allows himself 20 percent of the time often fall during Scicchitano’s working hours. “That’s kind of how I manage it, because you have to eat all foods in our business,” he says.
Today, Scicchitano typically works out four to six times a week—usually a combination of strength training and mountain biking, although he focused on road biking to prepare for Chefs Cycle last June. “I took the road bike down to work, and every day after work, I would get in 30, 50, 60 miles of road riding so I built up the endurance,” he says.
Scicchitano raised over $18,500 for the cause, and next year, he plans to do the West Coast version of the ride.
Michael Donahue / LYFE Kitchen
Cofounder and chief brand officer
How LYFE Kitchen stays healthy: Donahue constantly finds himself reminding employees not to talk about how healthy the chain’s menu is, even though nothing’s over 600 calories or 1,000 milligrams of sodium. “I don’t like to use ‘the H word,’” he says. “I really try to get our team to lead with, ‘We’re a great-tasting, warm, and inviting restaurant experience’—and talk about ‘the H word’ last.”
LYFE Kitchen achieves this by using spices, herbs, and sauces that add flavor without a lot of fat, calories, or sodium. (Chef Art Smith, who used to be Oprah’s personal chef, famously developed the chain’s menu when it launched in 2010.) “We created LYFE with three of us in the blue-ocean theory of, you don’t benchmark against others; you dream and innovate and create, and you won’t look like all others,” he says.
How Donahue stays healthy: Donahue’s personal health and wellness plan has four main components, all of which are espoused by Dr. Dean Ornish, a renowned healthcare researcher whom Donahue hired while he was working with McDonald’s to consult for the fast-food giant. The components are moderate diet changes that focus on plant-based foods, moderate exercise, group support, and stress management.
Another key component of Donahue’s lifestyle is always ensuring he has the option to make healthy choices if he wants to. “The woman who buys my groceries will come in and say, ‘The blueberries are rotten,’” he says. “And I say, ‘Don’t ever stop buying them because we need the choice.’ I also always take my workout gear with me when I travel. And if I use it 30 percent of the time, I’m happy—but I make sure I give myself the choice.”