Large portion sizes in restaurants have been identified as a public health risk.The objectives of this study were to assess the impact of adding reduced-portion menu items to the menu on customer selection, energy and nutrient intake, plate waste and business operations. A field experiment was conducted to examine the impact of offering flexible portion sizes in 2 food service environments: a cafeteria setting and a sit-down restaurant setting in St. Paul MN. Patrons were surveyed at the beginning and end of the study to assess current usage, dining needs and frequency of healthful behaviors. Purchasing, consumption and food waste data were collected throughout the study. Reduced sized portions were added to the menus halfway through the study in the spring of 2013. The management teams were interviewed at the completion of the study. Sales data show that reduced-portion entrees made up 10-30% of entrée sales across both food service environments. Energy and nutrient intakes decreased and food waste was reduced at both locations. The management teams both reported the added items provided higher profit margins or cost savings and improved customer satisfaction. Both locations have implemented the menu changes indefinitely. These outcomes could serve as the foundation for future work with reduced-portion sized menu items in different types of restaurant settings to promote public health.
University of Minnesota Master of Science thesis. April 2015. Major: Nutrition: Advisors: Len Marquart, Ph.D., R.D., Marla Reicks, Ph.D., R.D. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 122 pages, appendices 1-9.
Berkowitz, Sarah Elizabeth.
Providing flexible food portions in a restaurant setting: Impact on business operations, food consumption and food waste.
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