Industry News | July 17, 2006

National Restaurant Association Promotes Healthful Menu Choices to Americans

Underscoring the restaurant industry's long-standing commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles, the National Restaurant Association and the California-based Healthy Dining Program will launch a groundbreaking, new Web site to help Americans easily identify smart choices on restaurant menus on August 28, 2006. Developed with partial funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the new Web site represents a collaborative effort by the restaurant industry to support public health.

"We applaud the restaurants that are taking the lead in this initiative and look forward to having more restaurants join this important program," says Steven C. Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the National Restaurant Association. "Our research shows that nearly three out of four Americans say they are trying to eat more healthfully in restaurants than they did two years ago. The web site is a great resource for those looking to make smart choices when dining at their favorite restaurant. "

The free resource will enable consumers to search for participating restaurants based on location, type of cuisine, price range, take-out availability and other criteria. Detailed nutrition information (calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein, carbohydrates, fiber and fruit/vegetable servings) is provided for each menu item featured.

"The web site offers tremendous advantages to restaurants," says Erica Bohm, M.S., vice president of Healthy Dining. "In an increasingly competitive market, the Healthy Dining Program provides restaurants with unparalleled opportunities to attract new customers, enhance customer loyalty, and position themselves as innovative industry leaders, with a competitive edge."

A unique aspect of the multi-faceted Healthy Dining Program is the ongoing marketing campaign that leverages the support of thousands of health professionals, fitness leaders, employers, and others to promote the site and participating restaurants. Another aspect of this program is search engine optimization strategies, which will target the 16 million health/diet-related Internet searches that occur each month. And yet another component is a high profile consumer media campaign.

"Participating restaurants will receive tremendous positive publicity through's marketing campaign," Bohm said. "It's a win-win all the way around."

Every type of restaurant--from quickservice to fine dining, from independents to the nation's largest chains--is encouraged to enroll in the program. A few of the "early birds" already participating include: Arby's, P.F. Chang's, Buca di Beppo, Cracker Barrel, Round Table Pizza, El Pollo Loco, and Famous Dave's.

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