Lesley Kennedy

Don’t Super-Size Me: Is This the End of an Era?

restaurant trends


Has the “super-size me” era come to an end?


Americans may not be trading in their burgers and fries for salad and quinoa just yet, but amid all the talk of our collective expanding waistline and the health risks associated with (way) too much fast food, it does appear like we might be practicing the most basic diet tip of all: portion control.


A new study analyzed the profits of 21 chain restaurants, such as McDonald’s, Applebee’s, IHOP and Panera Bread, and found that those that offered more lower-calorie options on their menus saw sales go up 9 percent between 2006 and 2011, “while restaurants that didn’t saw sales drop by 16 percent,” reports NPR.


“You go to McDonald’s and get a plain old burger, and you don’t get many calories,” Hank Cardello, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and co-author of the report, tells the broadcaster.


Meanwhile, sales of lower-cal drinks (50 calories or less per 8-ounce serving) were up 10 percent, but french fry orders were down 2 percent during the same time frame.


“The restaurant industry as a whole is a very show-me industry; show me why I should change,” Cardello tells NPR, adding that restaurant chains aren’t likely to get on the health-food bandwagon any time soon, although these findings may encourage them to offer smaller (and thus lower-calorie) options. “Get with the program, or you leave money on the table.”


If they do, can we get a couple fries and a Diet Coke with that?




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