Remember the song, “It’s All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor? Well, it’s all about the bass for your customers, too, which is why they care about how many calories they are consuming. That’s the bottom line. So to speak.
Obesity rates continue to grow across the United States, exceeding 30 percent in some states. That’s an alarming statistic, especially when you consider that 90 percent of Americans report that they’ve eaten at a fast food/pizzeria in the past 12 months and 88 percent report that they’ve gone to full-service restaurants during the same time frame. And Americans consume about 55 percent more calories when they eat food prepared outside of the home. On top of that, most people underestimate the number of calories in the restaurant food they consume—especially fast food places—by as much as 25 percent.
I think it may be wishful thinking or simply a form of denial in some cases. Honestly, who wants to know that a large popcorn at the movies with caramel and cheese, a classic Chicago mix, can cost me three days’ worth of calories? Over time, seeing the numbers and their effect on our scales cannot be pushed to the side.
Calories are currently and becoming a serious consideration for 3 out of 4 diners today. Especially to parents who cite childhood obesity as a major problem, giving it more weight than smoking and drug abuse. Now add to this the increase of working mothers (nearly seven in ten moms with kids under the age of 18 work outside the house) who regularly rely on restaurants several times a week, and you can see why having as much information as possible about what they’re feeding their kids is vitally important to them.
Providing calorie counts for your customers enables them to make informed and (hopefully) healthier choices when eating out. This is especially true for patrons who are already health conscious. They tend to pay more attention to menu labeling than their peers who are not as tuned in to healthful diets and don’t often reach for the lower-calorie items.
When nutritional information such as trans/saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates and sugars is added to the mix, the likelihood that diners will choose a healthier food item increases. And the likelihood that they patronize eateries that offer healthier options goes up, too. It’s a win for them, and a win for the restaurant owner who sees more traffic coming through the door because of this.
As diners become more and more accustomed to seeing calorie counts and nutritional information at their favorite restaurants, they will wonder why it’s not available everywhere. In fact, here at MenuTrinfo we are averaging one inquiry a week from someone somewhere in the US asking us why the information they seek isn’t at their fingertips. Pretty soon, you’ll find that customers are factoring in having nutritional information and calorie counts right there on the menu when they make the decision about where to go for dinner.
So there you have it. Calorie counts are not just good for your customers’ bottoms, they’re good for your bottom line, too.