The 12 month study is designed to track and compare the behavior of consumers' buying habits of healthy choice entree items in San Diego restaurants versus restaurants in a control group outside the area. For the study Koo Koo Roo created six Healthy Dining Combo meals available today at its three San Diego locations. Each of the meals meets both the nutritional and fruit and vegetable content requirements for the state funded study. Six other non-competitive restaurant concepts are also participating in the study.
Consumers in the San Diego market will be interviewed by the market research firm of Juarez and Associates, a specialist in implementing and evaluating social marketing projects of this sort. Restaurant diners, health professionals and community leaders will be given educational materials throughout the study period. These efforts will be supported by an extensive radio, TV and print campaign dubbed "Treat Yourself Well" featuring healthy dining menu offerings available in San Diego.
Dr. Donald O. Lyman, Division Chief of the California Department of Health Services commented on the study and Koo Koo Roo's involvement, "Achieving healthy eating habits and a physically active lifestyle will be one of the most pervasive issues facing public health and health care in the new millennium. California has shown that it can tackle very tough problems and win. We are delighted to have Koo Koo Roo join us in this effort."
To kick off the event, attendees and media were given an opportunity to taste an assortment of healthy dining food items that will be available in the restaurants. Koo Koo Roo served its Koo Koo Roo Original Skinless Flame-broiled Chicken(R) and a chilled cucumber salad.
Susan B. Foerster, a registered dietitian with the California Department of Health Services and co-author of California Dietary Practices Survey: Overall Trends in Healthy Eating Among Adults 1989 - 1997, A Call to Action remarked, "We are exited about this program. It is the only one of its type in the country. This landmark program can turn this community, and ultimately the country, around in terms of eating out. We believe this social marketing campaign will influence the healthy dining behaviors of consumers."
The Koo Koo Roo restaurant concept began in 1988 and now has grown to 44 restaurants. Prandium operates over 300 fast-casual and full-service restaurants in 27 states including Chi-Chi's, El Torito, Casa Gallardo, Hamburger Hamlet and Koo Koo Roo. As the largest operator of full-service Mexican restaurants in the world, the company's concepts are recognized for their award winning menu items and casual dining experiences. Prandium sales in 1999 topped $536 million resulting in an EBITDA of $32 million.
Prandium, Inc. and Koo Koo Roo, Inc. are located at 18831 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92612. To contact the company call (949) 757-7900, or the toll-free investor information line at (888) 288-PRAN, or link to www.prandium.com  or www.kookooroo.com . Address email to [email protected] .