How to cater your restaurant business for health-conscious customers
Today's diners are more health-conscious than ever, and they want and expect quality ingredients. To draw the health-conscious crowd to your restaurant, you don't have to completely redo your menu. Some simple additions and substitutions can bring the health-conscious crowd to your door.
Substitute Healthy Ingredients in Your Recipes
You need not spend hours creating totally new menu items. Many dishes can be made healthier simply by changing out unhealthy ingredients with healthier alternatives. For example, use applesauce instead of oil in your baked goods or swap white rice for brown rice. Substitute in spiralized vegetables or spaghetti squash for high-carb noodles.
In a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, locally sourced and organic ingredients scored highly on the things health-conscious customers look for, so be sure your menu highlights dishes made with local and organic ingredients.
Feature Low-Carb and Low-Calorie Dishes on the Menu
Designate a section of the menu to feature lighter, healthier options. Promote these special dishes on your website and social media for diners who compare restaurants' healthy choices. Low-carb and ketogenic diets are extremely popular right now, so offering carb-free or extremely low-carb items will bring those customers to you.
Offer Vegetarian and Vegan Options
Surprisingly, many restaurants do not have a good selection of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu. One way to accommodate these customers is to ensure that some of your dishes also have a meatless alternative. For example, have a beef stew option made with tempeh or seitan, or a soy ice cream on the desert menu. Non-dairy and gluten-free items can also be popular with vegans.
Provide Nutritional Profiles for Your Dishes
Some restaurants now include nutritional profiles for their dishes somewhat like nutritional labels on grocery store foods. There are actually nutritional testing facilities like Agrifood Technology that will test your dishes and give you an analysis that includes measurements such as calories, cholesterol, fiber, carbohydrates and gluten.
Health-conscious customers are more likely to order an item if they can be sure the nutritional profile fits into their preferred diet.
There are so many different types of health-conscious dietary options that, at some point, you will have to narrow the choices down and decide which types of customers you most want to attract. Offering a small sample to customers who are not sure about what to order can do wonders for your sales. Providing customers with a range of options will make them more likely to bring friends and family who have different dietary needs.