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17 July 2007

Restaurant choice

I write this blog from Wetherspoons, the UKs #1 restaurant by sales (McDonalds is the only food outlet to sell more in the UK however it is stretching it rather to call a place with no table service a restaurant...)

Anyway, while I wait for my order I think back to the days many years ago when trying to get a vegetarian option was a novelty. Until fairly recently, trying to get a healthy option in certain fast food outlets was even more of a novelty. Nowadays, pretty much every restaurant has a vegetarian option (except perhaps the famous Monthy Python Spam restaurant and maybe also Jake the steak Texans big Texas steak, grill and burger bar in red neck county, deep south, USA but I digress)

It is clear that restaurants are increasingly accommodating the needs of the consumer. First it was vegetarian options and more recently it has been low fat/healthy options. Yet, buy your food in a supermarket and the information is decades ahead of restaurants.

If I buy food in a supermarket, I get the calories, fat, salt, sugar content and a whole load of other info including whether it is high or low in relation to the RDA (recommended daily allowance).

In a restaurant, no such info is ever on a menu and you are lucky to get vegan or healthy indicated by some symbol that varies from restaurant to restaurant, if it is included at all.

Whilst accepting that it can be hard to produce such detail for individually hand crafted food, surely an approximate indication on the menu would be useful? Moreover, if Subway can tell me the fat content of certain sandwiches, it should be possible for large food retailers with set menus across the country to provide the sort of detail on food composition that people are now expecting to get.

Certainly as someone who eats out 4 nights a week, I would find such info on my diet very useful indeed in trying to ensure I dont put on weight when eating out extensively on business and I expect I am not the only one. If subway can tell me the fat content of a meal, I should expect no less from a mid or upmarket restaurant, and in a standard format too.

(Not sent from a Blackberry, Nokia doesnt believe in signature spam)

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