Customer 1: “Are your vegetables cooked in butter?”
Server: “No, they are cooked in oil.”
Customer 1: “What kind of oil?”
Server: “Chef uses canola oil, it adds a neutral taste.”
Customer 1: “Oh. Well what about the Greek chicken salad. Is there a way to order it without the chicken, no feta cheese, and dressing on the side?”
Server: “We can do that. And for you?”
Customer 2: “On the bacon hamburger- is it free-range beef? And can I get extra bacon, only if it’s local.”
Ever been in a situation with an ordering conundrum like this? Whether you were with a dining companion, or you were the server with an order tablet that looked like a short novel, popular diets have been driving diners to change their eating habits. While some diets, like gluten-free, are for genuine health issues such as celiac disease, others like the paleo or raw foods diet are based on the trends of the moment.
“Our restaurant is conscious of what people are doing this week,” said Mitchell Anderson, owner of MetroFresh, a fast-casual restaurant known for accommodating special diets. He believes there is a segment of people that go from fad diet to fad diet. ”It’s a blessing and curse, and we have to consider what will sell to the most people. We can’t narrow dietary restrictions to five people.”
“You know that the diet has become a trend when restaurants start putting it on menus,” said Chris Rosenbloom, a dietician at Georgia State University. “More people are looking for it, so it is a customer demand. But restaurants should really make sure if they list menu items, the claims are legitimate.”
Rosenbloom suggests that restaurants work with a dietician to address specific allergies, specifically gluten-free because celiac disease is a threatening condition.
What is your take on the diet trends of today? Have you had success (or failure) with adhering to them in the restaurant scene?
-By Alexa Lampasona for the Food & More blog