Attitudes toward healthy eating are changing. In fact, 42% of consumers report that what healthy means to them has evolved during the past two years, according to Technomic’s Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report. Despite this shift, operations such as St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, Colo., find that grilled items or traditional comfort foods continue to be some of their best-sellers. Here’s how four operators have thought outside the box to guide diners toward healthier options.
1. Target discounts
St. Anthony Hospital offers a 20% employee discount on all healthy items, with a smaller discount (10%) on less healthy foods. The nutrition services team also removed the kitchen’s fryers—one of its popular stations—and at the same time added a churrasco grill for healthier protein entrees. Now, almost 60% of items offered fall under the hospital’s healthy classification. Instead of seeing sales fall off as the team expected, the eatery has received a significant bump in sales.
2. Spice it up
The culinary services team at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison challenges itself to implement a new wellness initiative each week, one of which was discounting salad bar items by half. After implementing that discount, UW Health saw 5,000 additional salad bar sales in one month. Staff members are so excited about the momentum that they are constantly generating new ideas, says Amy Mihm, clinical nutrition specialist at the hospital.
3. Engage a team effort
University of Michigan’s dining services says that a key way to promote wellness to guests is having your team embody it. Director Steve Mangan says that making sure your team is on board with the healthy initiatives not only creates a more engaged workforce, but also helps guests buy into the program.
4. Go global
Each week, Elon University’s cafeterias feature a new health-focused global cuisine that strives for authenticity. Before rolling out the dishes, the dining services team at the Elon, N.C., school tests recipes with students from the featured background to get feedback. They also reach out to authors and chefs for authentic recipes.