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How a Restaurant Can Fight Obesity AND Attract Customers

fight obesity

In America, one of the leading causes of illness and death is obesity. This ever-worsening epidemic is often blamed on the restaurants of the world, with their enormous portions and their hidden nutrition facts. Most weight loss experts note that if people just see how many calories a dish has, if they can just affix a number to the food on their plate, they are less likely to consume a huge amount of calories. Many restaurants have taken to paring down the burgers and fries and pushing healthier options. But you don’t want to lose your loyal customers by wiping out all of the “unhealthy” options from your menu, either.

Post Calorie Counts

It’s now a law that fast food restaurants must post their entire menu’s calorie count somewhere in the establishment. While the same is not true for all restaurants, it can be helpful to post these counts online. Why? Because for the millions of consumers on diets, they like to know the calorie information of their dishes before they even walk into the restaurant. Make sure that your website that holds the calorie count is also compatible with smart phones, making it simply and easy for your patrons to find the information they need even as they are perusing your menu.

Having an easy-to-use calorie web page is a great draw for many consumers, and not even consumers who are on diets. It shows a level of transparency which customers appreciate from any business. Especially with all the horror stories in the media lately about restaurants hiding important nutritional and dish information from their clients, making sure all relevant information is on the internet can bring even the wariest of diners to your restaurant.

Healthy Living Updates

For customers enrolled in your mobile updates program, send out reminders and specials for your healthy choices. Or if you don’t yet have a mobile program, invest in one. In 2010, experts predicted that smartphone usage would outstrip personal computers by 2014. This year has already seen that prediction come to fruition. Not only are more people buying smartphones (cellphone companies project that by next year smartphones will overtake feature phone purchases), they are using them more frequently and for more purposes than ever before.

Setting up and implementing a mobile updates program is more important than ever, and using it advocate healthy living is a great way to turn occasional customers in to regulars, and to show your concern for your community.

Community Involvement

For restaurants, whether they are single establishments or chain joints, getting involved in your community is a great way to generate interest. You can further the cause of obesity awareness by hosting or sponsoring a run/walk event. By showing your face around the community, you can find plenty of new customers, who will patronize your establishment first, because your name will be in their head, and second because of the positive associations community advocacy creates in the mind of the consumer.

Consumers prefer to give their money to businesses that show genuine concern for their communities, and for small businesses, the key to any successful marketing strategy is gaining proper and positive exposure. Attaching your name to a wellness event not only gets your business out there in the community, it also helps develop the positive brand you want for your restaurant.

Even restaurants like McDonalds and Burger King promote walk-a-thons and runs to fight different kinds of illnesses, including obesity. Showing support for these health initiatives helps the consumer to feel better about eating in these kinds of establishments. Chances are, your restaurant doesn’t already have the bad rap that Mickey D’s does, so your involvement in runs and walks will feel more genuine to the public.

Prices

Most restaurants offer a few strictly healthy options, especially with the turn in the last ten years, towards more health-conscious living. Just by virtue of the food used to make healthy options, these menu items are less costly than even the standard hamburger. This is a great way to bring more customers into your restaurant and to give them great healthy choices. As the market climate continues to trend towards healthier living and wiser spending habits, restaurants that are not compensating for this shift are seeing drops in sales.

Advertising your restaurant’s healthier options, along with your bestsellers, is a great way to bring more customers through your doors. You can see how effective this is with Applebee’s new run of commercials, advertising a small entrée, accompanied by a large seasonal salad. While these meals are not being marketed just as “healthy,” showing that there are healthy options available is often as effective as directly advertising them.

By running a special, or letting customers know that healthier options cost less, you will find consumers, once unlikely to patronize your establishment, showing interest in your restaurant. And they may not even be interested in your salads and fish dishes, but they will be drawn in by the promise of choices. Especially for couples where one partner is dieting, and the other is not, creating an atmosphere of variety for your restaurant is a great option.

Summary

Consumers love businesses that show concern for their individual well-being. With obesity affecting the lives of more and more people, healthy living is a great cause to show support for. It will show your consumers that you care about the world, and that your restaurant is not only a great place to eat, with healthy and indulgent choices, but also that there are humans behind the brick-and-mortar.

Getting involved in the fight against obesity is a great way to get more exposure for your business, especially if you are looking to create the impression that your restaurant is concerned about the state of the world and is ready to help.

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