Restaurant Executives Say Healthier Menu Items Make Sense Only When They Make for a Healthier Bottom Line

Staff at the Produce for Better Health Foundation conducted a study of how senior menu development and marketing executives at 28 leading U.S. restaurant chains decide whether to offer healthier foods on their menus. Under a subcontract, staff at Technomic, a food service research firm, interviewed 41 executives between September and December 2005.

Key Findings

  • The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (32(5): 383–388, 2007), reported that:

    • Increasing sales and profits are the most important overall issues of concern to restaurant executives.
    • Executives considering changes to their menus care most about whether a new item will attract new customers or maintain the current customer base, and how it will affect sales and profits.
    • Restaurants offer healthier menu items only when executives believe the demand is sufficient to make it financially worthwhile.