You might want to hold off on formulating your restaurant's healthy dining strategy until after the Food and Drug Administration releases the final rule that will govern how calorie counts must be displayed on menus.
That issue is still up in the air, thanks to heavy lobbying by the National Restaurant Association. The NRA is working to make the rule more real-world-operator friendly and extend the time before you'll have to implement it.
But that doesn't mean you can't position your restaurant to benefit from the rule in the meantime.
That's what fast food feeder Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen did, attracting a flash crowd to Bourbon Street in New Orleans to celebrate the rollout of the chain's new Louisiana Leaux (pronounced “low”) mini-menu of better-for-you alternatives.
It's a clever idea, and a darned good use of social media marketing. The three new menu offerings, each built around a naked chicken tender to keep calorie counts down, aren't necessarily breakthrough items. And the rest of Popeyes traditional menu lineup remains intact. But making a big splash about healthy dining now sets the company up nicely when the final FDA rule comes out.
Taking ownership of healthy eating is a smart way to get ahead of the problem, especially if the rest of your menu, like Popeyes, has inherently high calorie counts. Act fast if this describes you.