Betsy Craig, founder and president of Fort Collins-based MenuTrinfo, was named the 2013 Emerging Entrepreneur of Northern Colorado at the 14th annual Bravo Entrepreneur Awards program held at the Union Colony Civic Center in Greeley last month.
Craig, who overcame a rare and life-threatening autoimmune disease called scleroderma, founded MenuTrinfo after discovering the hard way that the foods she ate had a significant impact on her health.
Three years later, MenuTrinfo is quietly revolutionizing the way restaurants approach nutritional, allergen-friendly, and gluten-free menus. Craig now counts such blue-chip organizations as Walt Disney World theme parks, Rosati’s Pizza, AMC Theatres, Genghis Grill, and Buca di Beppo among her hundreds of clients.
“Our mission is to protect people’s lives and health by partnering with our clients to provide simplified nutritional information and to ensure that accurate, clear, and helpful menus are made available to their customers,” says Craig. “Through my battle with scleroderma, I learned how vital it is to know what you’re putting into your body. I also learned that the vast majority of restaurants today are not providing accurate and/or complete information to their customers.”
MenuTrinfo takes its clients’ recipes, runs them through proprietary software created by Betsy’s software developer husband, and accurately converts them to calories and nutritional facts, which can be confidently displayed on their web sites and menus. The breakdown also enables MenuTrinfo to teach chefs and restaurants how to make their recipes healthier without sacrificing flavor or texture.
“As we like to say, we excel in nutritional facts, not fiction,” says Craig.
As part of its proprietary process, MenuTrinfo also identifies allergens in the recipes, which often comes as a shock to the chefs. This is another critical step in protecting their customers’ lives and health.
“Did you know that once every three minutes, someone in the United States goes to the hospital due to an allergic reaction to food?” asks Craig. “That’s why we also say ‘we keep the hospital out of hospitality.’”
“The key is in the training – establishing proper protocol for both the front and back of the house. This May, we’ll be introducing our new ‘AllerChef’ training, which will instruct and certify chefs on how to make gluten-free and allergen-friendly menu items in their commercial kitchens. At the same time, we’ll be rolling out official symbols that our clients will use to certify their menus as gluten-free and 'nutritionals certified.' Sort of our own 'Good Housekeeping' seals, applied to foods.”
Craig was among 10 Northern Colorado business leaders recognized for their successes at the 2013 Northern Colorado Business Report's Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards.
This is just the latest accolade for Craig and her company. She has previously been voted the #4 CEO in the fast casual industry’s “2012 Top 100 Movers and Shakers,” while MenuTrinfo’s technology captured the #7 spot in the 2012 Top 10 technology trends in the restaurant industry, according to NetWorld Alliance.