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Satisfying Health-Conscious Restaurant Guests: 4 Menu Tips to Keep Them Coming Back

Adding Healthy Foods and Drinks to Your Restaurant Menu pays off in multiple ways.

Have you taken a close look at healthy menu options at your restaurant lately? If not, it may be time to get your menu in shape with healthier food and drink options.

Half of consumers consider eating healthy a “top priority,” according to McKinsey & Company, a business research and consulting company. McKinsey conducted an online survey of around 8,000 consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany after pandemic restrictions eased.

“Restaurants and takeout establish­ments need to rethink their menus, adding more healthy, sustainable food options and providing information about the impact of menu items on health and the environment,” says Mckinsey & Company.

Many restaurants have revamped their menus to cater to health-conscious guests, according to hospitality news source Revfine. Healthy menu items offered include gluten-free, low-fat, dairy-free, organic, vegan and vegetarian options. That goes for hotel restaurants, too.

“The trend for healthy food and drinks extends to hotels, catering services, and even holidays, with healthier room service options and healthier drinks sold behind bars,” says Revfine.

Health-conscious consumers will pay more

Organic foods may be more expensive, but many consumers are willing to pay higher prices for healthy foods, according to research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In fact, multiple studies reviewed in one study published at the NIH concluded that many consumers are willing to pay up to 6% to 91.5% (mean 30.7%) more for healthier foods.

“Studies consistently found a positive willingness to pay for foods with reduced fat and wholegrains with additional fruit and vegetables, while willingness to pay for foods with reduced salt or a combination of low fat and sugar, or salt showed mixed results,” says the NIH study.

Wondering which items you can add to your restaurant menu to appeal to guests that crave healthier options? Here are X items to consider adding to the menu.

4 tips for offering healthy menu options

Below are four ways to show customers seeking a healthy dining guest experience that your restaurant cares about their dining needs, according to the WebstaurantStore Blog.

1. Mark healthy menu options with symbols

Use symbols to signify healthy menu items. Make sure you include a legend on the menu so guests will know what each symbol means.

Symbols may include:

  • Smoking grill for grilled items
  • A leaf for foods that can be prepared vegetarian
  • A “V” for vegetarian foods that can be made vegan
  • Grain plant symbol for foods made from whole grain flour instead of white flour
  • Zig-zag symbol for foods that can be broiled instead of deep-fried or sauteed in butter or oil
  • Vegetable symbol for organic fruits and vegetable ingredients
  • A line through a symbol with “sugar” crossed out to denote sugar-free items

2.  Provide calorie and nutrition information

Add calorie counts, along with nutritional information about fat and sodium contained in the item. This information helps guests choose the menu options they consider best for their health.

3. Substitute with healthier ingredients

Make only small, basic changes that won’t raise spending costs or change the look and flavor of your food, says WebstaurantStore Blog. Then mention the healthier ingredients on the menu.

Below are some examples:

  • Use higher-quality oils when food quality won’t suffer. These may include olive oil, coconut oil and peanut oil. “Try to stay away from oils with higher levels of polyunsaturated fats, like soybean oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil,” says WebstaurantStore Blog.
  • Brown rice instead of white
  • Real fruit and vegetable juices in cocktails, sauces, desserts and entrees
  • Vegetables drizzled with olive oil instead of butter
  • Low-fat, sugar-free salad dressings
  • Low-sodium soy sauce

4. Offer lean meats and meat cuts

“By cooking with leaner cuts of meat, customers can cut out half the amount of fat and calories, allowing them to stick to their diets,” says WebstaurantStore Blog.

Menu options could include:

  • Lower-fat steaks such as round or sirloin
  • Seafoods
  • Turkey, bean, chicken and veggie burgers
  • Chicken and fish with skin removed
  • Light meat instead of dark meat when possible

Offering healthier menu items also appeals to guests who may not focus much on health but still like to indulge in a healthy meal occasionally. Providing healthy menu options is an excellent way to enhance the guest experience and win loyal customers.