IHOP Knows You Don’t Really Want That Salad

Does anyone actually order the 'SkinnyLicious' grilled salmon at the Cheesecake Factory?
Does anyone actually order the 'SkinnyLicious' grilled salmon at the Cheesecake Factory? Photo: Courtesy of Cheesecake Factory

We’ve heard that many of the nation’s chain restaurants are struggling, and that they’re trying to appease consumer groups and nutrition experts with healthier menu items, but do customers really care? Profits seem to indicate that customers like the healthier stuff, in theory, but while about half the country says they want healthy salads as an option, only about 23 percent actually order that stuff. Everyone else just goes for the bacon cheeseburgers and Double Downs.

As the AP reports, the Cheesecake Factory’s new “SkinnyLicious” menu items are selling okay, but cheesecake sales are up overall. Likewise, IHOP, which launched a Simple & Fit menu, says those items make up “a single-digit percentage” of their revenue, and their biggest seller is still the 1,180-calorie breakfast sampler. And when McDonald’s, which in 2004 started giving parents the option of ordering apple “fries” with Happy Meals, tried to nix French fries completely, parents surveyed all said, “No.” So now, in each meal, they’re going to be giving kids half-portions of both fries and those apple sticks — which the kids will just leave in the bottom of the bag.

So if we don’t want chains to simply pay lip service to our health, but instead to make some healthy menu items that are actually worth eating, we have to start meaning it when we say we’re going on a diet. Because McDonald’s is hip to our lies and clearly making money off of them.

Salads are nice, but burgers are what really sell [AP/SF Examiner]
Earlier: Nineteen Chain Restaurants Pushing Healthier Stuff for Kids
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