Restaurants that serve more lower-calorie options perform better financially, according to a new study. Throughout the past five years, chains that increased the amount of lower-calorie options had better sales growth, larger increases in customer traffic and stronger gains in total food and beverage servings than chains whose servings of lower-calorie options declined.
Consumers are hungry for restaurant meals that won’t expand their waist lines, and the restaurants that recognize this are doing better than those that don’t.
In 17 of the 21 restaurant chains evaluated from 2006 through 2011, lower-calorie foods and beverages outperformed those that were not lower-calorie. In addition, chains that increased their servings of lower-calorie items saw positive returns as a result. These restaurants generated:
* A 5.5-percent increase in same-store sales, compared with a 5.5 percent decline among chains selling fewer lower-calorie servings;
* A 10.9-percent growth in customer traffic, compared with a 14.7 percent decline; and
* An 8.9 percent increase in total food and beverage servings, compared with a 16.3 percent decrease.
In this study, a main course item such as a sandwich or entree was considered lower-calorie if it had no more than 500 calories. Beverages with 50 or fewer calories per eight ounces were considered lower-calorie. Side dishes, appetizers, and desserts with 150 or fewer calories also were categorized as such. Items that did not meet the criteria are referred to as traditional.
Lower-calorie servings of foods and beverages increased as a percentage of total servings across all restaurants. Throughout the five-year period, the restaurants saw an increase of approximately 472 million in total servings of lower-calorie foods and beverages, compared with a decrease of about 1.3 billion servings among traditional items.
Companies can serve both their interest in healthy profits and their customers’ interest in healthier eating. More companies need to make this shift, and now as a result will see more profits.
Source: pizzamarketplace.com, 2.8.2013