retail news in context, analysis with attitude

USA Today reports this morning that “something odd is afoot in restaurants where Americans have typically gone to gorge: healthier grub.”

According to the story, “In a nation where two of three adults are obese or overweight, restaurant chains of all kinds finally are minding their nutritional p’s and q’s. Some are being prodded by fears of restrictive legislation and continued tough talk from first lady Michelle Obama. Some are doing it out of the fear that even one nutritionally minded family member will talk the whole family out of going ... Some are responding to the hard numbers: Three in four consumers surveyed by Harris Interactive say they’d choose a lower-calorie item if taste and portion size were comparable.”

The story goes on: “This nutritional U-turn is taking place at some of the unlikeliest of eateries, including Denny’s, IHOP, Friendly’s, Sizzler and even at the nation’s biggest casual dining chain, Applebee’s, where the numbers are eye-popping. For the first two months of 2011, the top-selling entree at Applebee’s wasn’t a gloppy burger or flashy fajita plate. It was a sirloin and shrimp entree from the chain’s diet menu. This marks the first time that a low-calorie item ever ranked as the chain’s best seller for a single month — let alone two in a row.”
KC's View: