The Benefits of Implementing a Nutrition Calculator into Your Online Restaurant Menu
In a day and age where everyone not only wants to know their meal’s ingredient list but the nutrition information as well, restaurants and food service businesses that implement a nutrition calculator into their online menu aren’t just innovative, they’re smart.
The ongoing trend of feeding the mind of the consumer, the millennial in particular, has no foreseeable end in sight. And as restaurant offerings become more customized, having a tool that provides the diner with the nutrition information of their meal becomes an exciting feature to an otherwise basic list of menu items. This was precisely the reason that the owners of Willy’s Mexicana Grill opted to collaborate with MenuCalc for the launch of their online nutrition calculator.
MenuCalc & Willy’s Mexicana Grill
Founded in 1995 by Willy Bitter after living for some time in San Francisco: his conquest was to bring the California-style mission burrito back to his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Mission accomplished (pun intended). 24 years later, Willy’s Mexicana Grill has grown to over 31 locations throughout Georgia.
Due to Willy’s made-to-order menu, deriving the nutritional information from their individual menu items and then adding them all up based on a customer’s unique order became a daunting task on both sides of the counter.
According to Diana Walley, Willy’s VP of Marketing:
“We do get calls about nutrition and calorie counts frequently, (the nutrition calculator) makes it much easier to refer (customers) directly to our website.”
Having this tool in place is also a competitive piece in today’s restaurant industry. Having the luxury of knowing all of the nutrition values as well as the allergen information, ingredient list and other details, all in real time, gives the diner an incredibly tailor-made dining experience.
“The calculator is such a powerful way for our restaurant clients to engage with their growing and very information-curious dining community.” comments Lucy, MenuCalc’s founder. “We are becoming an industry of food transparency, and the Meal Builder enables our clients to not only eliminate the multiple emails and calls from diners wanting to know about the specific nutrient information in a menu item, but it also provides the restaurant the opportunity and voice to say “hey, we heard you, we’re transparent.”
The MenuCalc nutrition calculator, aka, the meal builder is comprised of a restaurant’s exact recipes and menu items, reflecting what the diner eats.
Due to the intricate programming, the MenuCalc software is able to flag particular ingredients and nutrients in order for restaurants to an allergen disclaimer and even health claims on their menu items. For example: If a recipe contains any of the top 8 allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, eggs, milk, fish, or shellfish, the recipe will highlight these and alert the user inputting the data of their presence and offer the option of menu labeling this particular item with an allergen disclaimer.
This creates a safer experience for the customer with food allergies. This added feature rounds out the platform’s other informational offerings which include but are not limited to: calorie content, total fat, carbohydrate count, protein values, sodium content, fiber, and even added sugars.
“Our guests really enjoy having this feature,” explains Diana. “This also allows us to control our calorie counts as we are developing new menu items.”
The MenuCalc Experience
Implementing a nutrition calculator into an online menu creates as much of a customized experience for the restaurant as it does for the customer. When a client comes to MenuCalc to build their nutrition calculator, they are met with quality and professionalism.
“On day one, a restaurant client will immediately begin personal collaboration with our in-house dietitian, Elysa Dinzes via our expert consulting services.” notes MenuCalc’s creator and founder, Lucy Logan. “With over 17 years as a Registered Dietitian and more than a decade in the food-service industry, Elysa brings the customer experience to a new level entirely.”
Indeed she does. When an individual chooses to utilize MenuCalc’s expert consulting services, Elysa handles their account personally. From inputting data and recipe collaboration to communicating directly with restaurant suppliers, Elysa does it all. Having a personal dietitian on the account creates the opportunity to implement changes, create new items, and build a nutrient database that works seamlessly with a restaurant’s existing menu.
This way, if there are seasonal differences on a menu, the nutrition values and ingredient information is already pre-loaded and simple to edit and/or add onto menu items to create new offerings.
On the Willy’s Mexicana Grill’s nutrition calculator creation and launch:
“The process was very easy with great support from Lucy and Elysa and we are very happy with the finished result.” states Diana, VP of Marketing. “It’s an easy format to work with and as we change our menu or add new items, we are able to make edits on our own since it is very flexible. If we run into questions or want to expand items on our calculator they are very supportive.”
With intelligent software and a personal dietitian to create that competitive edge, what more could a restaurant want when it comes to implementing a nutrition calculator for into their online menu? The world may never know.