Restaurant Franchises & Fast Food Villainy

In this era of obesity, a lot of us may question our decision to open a fast food franchise. Are we doing something bad for our community? Should we feel guilty? A compelling argument could be made for both sides, but ultimately, we have to remember that we’re all humans with free will. Nobody is forcing anyone to eat fast food, and many patrons eat fast food responsibly – as part of a mostly healthy diet with the occasional indulgence.

But what can you do if you want to do a little more to help your guests stay healthy? I’ve gotten this question a lot from potential franchisees in the last year or two. It really does seem like people are becoming more aware of health, if not actually becoming more healthy. I’ve collected my best tips below. We’ll use the Steak N Shake restaurant franchise as our example.

  • Know your menu. I’ve yet to encounter a fast food restaurant that didn’t have some healthy options on the menu. In the case of Steak N Shake, a simple steakburger is a relatively healthy option, and the chili is even better (slightly higher calories but great fiber content). Perhaps one of the best options is the Apple Pecan Grilled Chicken Salad. Believe me, salads aren’t always the healthiest choice since many restaurant salads are actually much higher in calories that other “junky” options.¬† Applesauce, mandarin oranges, cottage cheese, baked beans, chicken soup or vegetable soup are also great choices (but avoid the soups and beans if you’re watching your sodium).
  • Use suggestive selling. Teach your waitstaff to upsell customers on healthy items, but also make sure they don’t do it in a way that’s insulting. Some customers of size might misinterpret a suggestion of orange slices if the server isn’t sensitive. Suggestive selling is especially useful when it comes to kids, as many parents are happy to order their kids a healthy selection if they’re aware of it.
  • Train your waitstaff or cashiers to be aware of healthy options. If you don’t bring it up first, you can’t count on your staff to know which options are best for customers on different diets. While you’re at it, make sure they know what’s gluten-free (if anything), what’s vegetarian, what’s vegan (if anything), and what’s low-calorie, low-fat, or low-carb.

Any other ideas for helping your guests make healthy choices in your fast food establishment? Feel free to leave them in the comments!

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