Nutrition analysis is more than a series of numbers in a binder. It’s a powerful tool for restaurants. An effective nutrition analysis empowers your customers to make better choices for their health and gives them the confidence to trust their health to you. And it may boost your bottom line. Here’s why…
People are more health conscious than ever. Rates of heart disease and diabetes are through the roof and food allergies are on the rise. With work, family and social obligations, people are just busy. You are poised to help. With the help of a registered dietitian, your restaurant can be perfectly positioned to serve up convenient, delicious meals to help customers manage their health.
And it’s not just the RD; your entire team will be part of the process.
The Registered Dietitian will guide you through every step of the process from determining your restaurant’s needs to obtaining weights and measures. He or she can develop condition specific recipes that sell, train staff, educate customers, design healthy promotions and be your expert on current food and nutrition trends and research. Using the principles of food science, cooking and food knowledge, the RD will complete a thorough analysis of your recipes using nutrient analysis software and the necessary information from your kitchen (including recipes, ingredients and preparation details).
The Restaurant Owner supplies information to get the ball rolling. The RD will need to know why you want or need nutrient analysis for your business. Are you preparing for the pending federal menu labeling regulations? Are your customers demanding nutrient information or special meals? Are they concerned about allergens?
Side Note: Registered dietitians are trained to keep information confidential – from a patient’s chart to what’s discussed in counseling and yes your business practices and recipes. If you’re concerned about confidentiality protect yourself with a non-disclosure agreement.
The Chef works closely with the registered dietitian to share standardized recipes and manufacturer information for all ingredients, information on cooking methods and equipment. These two will be joined at the hip… or at least by phone!
The Manager educates the staff and disseminates the policies & procedures regarding sharing the final analysis with customers. The manager should also communicate any ingredient or equipment changes to the registered dietitian so that the analyses are kept up to date.
- The back of the house staff is probably the most important of all. Freely adding ingredients and altering cooking times or equipment can dramatically change the nutrient profile of a dish. Remember: canned tomatoes are not all created equal.
- The front of the house staff is critical to help gather information on what customers want. Are they asking about calories and sodium? Gluten free meals? Or for diets related to specific health conditions?
So as you see, each member of the team plays a critical role in producing an accurate nutrition analysis. As in any business teamwork and proper communication play an essential role!
Marisa Moore, MBA.RD.LD. is a registered and licensed dietitian in Atlanta, GA. Marisa works with corporations, groups and individuals to improve health outcomes in wellness, weight management, heart health and disease prevention. She also works with the food industry to develop healthy recipes, products and campaigns.
She is a media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and adjunct faculty at Georgia State University. Moore holds a BS in nutrition and dietetics from Georgia State University where she also earned a master’s degree in business administration.