Industry News | May 7, 2010

UNO Makes Food Allergies a No. 1 Priority

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Holidays are a popular time to dine out, but for many families that have one or more members who suffer from dangerous food allergies or disorders such as celiac disease, finding a restaurant chain that can accommodate their needs can be a challenge.

UNO offers one of the nation’s most comprehensive gluten-free menus, as well as nutrition information centers in restaurant lobbies that offer complete information on every dish.

“With Mother’s and Father’s Day coming up, as well as graduation parties and the usual celebrations like birthdays, we want to remind our guests that we do our best to make sure their dining experience with us is both enjoyable and safe,” UNO executive chef Chris Gatto says.

UNO has offered an extensive gluten-free menu since 2006, with more than 30 items ranging from appetizers to entrees to desserts and beverages. Menu choices include Baked Stuffed Chicken – with broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and cheese, Lemon Basil Salmon and Certified Angus Beef steaks. And of couse the pizza: UNO was the first national casual-dining chain to offer a gluten-free pizza in several varieties including cheese, pepperoni, and veggie.

“Food allergies and intolerances are very serious, sometimes life-threatening issues for many Americans,” Gatto says. “Pizza is our signature product, and we are thrilled to offer a gluten-free pizza so all of our guests can enjoy pizza when dining at UNO.”

With 12 million Americans suffering from food allergies, including 2.5 million school-age children, UNO considers it good business and good corporate citizenship to offer comprehensive nutritional information. This commitment is made all the more compelling by the fact that an estimated 1 in every 133 people has celiac disease. While awareness of celiac disease is rising, more than 95 percent of people with the disease remain undiagnosed. Among people who have a first-degree relative—a parent, sibling, or child—diagnosed with celiac disease, as many as 1 in 22 people may have the disease.

In addition to its gluten-free menu offerings, UNO boasts a number of healthy firsts including being the first national casual-dining restaurant chain to eliminate artificial trans-fats and to increase menu and nutritional transparency via nutrition information centers located in its restaurants.

For guest convenience and safety, UNO clearly labels menu items with ingredients that are linked to the most common food allergies, such as fish and shellfish, soy, tree nuts and peanuts, egg, milk, and wheat and gluten. Diners can also preview the menu and nutritional information online via the company’s website.

The company has invested millions in nutritional advancements since 2005 and, according to CEO Frank Guidara, UNO will continue its commitment to providing delicious, fresh, and healthful menu options for its guests.

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