Accommodating the Latest Dietary Trends

As a restaurant owner it is important you are responding to the latest trends and dietary preferences for today’s restaurant guests. As new information is discovered about foods and how they interact with our bodies, it is critical that your restaurant adapts to these trends offering options to meet your guests changing needs. There are several ways to accomplish this, first stay in touch with the latest trends. Guests encounter influential information about Paleo, Keto, Vegetarian, Low Carb and Gluten Free diets and how they affect one’s health and strength. Your goal as a restaurateur is to provide balance within your menu to ensure all guest feel welcome and can find menu items that meets varied dietary needs.

The Latest Alternative Diets

Because new diet trends emerge often, it would be impossible to create a menu that offered options to accommodate all dietary needs. However, there are three popular alternative diets many of your guests would love to see offered at your restaurant: Vegetarian, Paleo/Keto, and Gluten Free.

Vegetarian diets are rich in grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes. The Paleo diet is strongly influenced in sourcing meats and vegetables that are grown and raised without the assistance of chemicals and/or genetic modification, and may feature foods grown and raised with a keen eye on regenerative farming methods that benefit the planet.

When it comes to the Gluten Free individual, some people’s digestive systems are sensitive or intolerant to gluten while others are allergic. Guests who are affected by Celiac's Disease or Crohn's Disease cannot process the gluten protein present in many grains, so they must avoid foods that contain it. Gluten can be found in a surprising number of foods on a menu, not just bread. Many baked goods, pasta, and cereals contain gluten, as well as beer and malt beverages, which can make it difficult for those with a gluten intolerance or allergy to find dishes they can enjoy when eating out at a restaurant. Since serving gluten free food is one of the fastest growing trends in foodservice, restaurants need to adapt and offer food that appeals to gluten-free customers.

Clearly Identify Menu Items

Once you have identified foods your guests will be attracted to, modify your menu to accommodate current dietary trends. You can separate these options into their own section or use an easily identifiable logo or letter such as “V” “P” or “GF” beside each option on the menu so your customers can quickly locate the items that are safe and desirable for them to eat. Include a dietary legend on your menu to inform customers what the letters and symbols mean. This helps prevent confusion and allows your customers to easily identify food items that meet their dietary needs.

Always ask if anyone has special dietary requests/restrictions.

When seating your customers, inform them that your restaurant can accommodate special dietary restrictions, and ask them if they do have need of these special accommodations. Direct them to the specialty menu items and always be open to questions and special requests.

Learn from the customers

Offer your customers surveys and/ or feedback forms to ascertain what types of Paleo, vegetarian, or gluten-free menu items they would like to see on your menu the next time they visit. Encourage them to return by offering a referral bonus if they bring a friend, or a discount on their next meal.

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