Talking to local Restaurant Owners about adding a diabetic menu to their menus.

roxanne bohnnow
By roxanne bohnnow Latest Reply 2014-11-13 18:33:15 -0600
Started 2014-11-10 23:14:15 -0600

Being that it is Diabetes Awareness Month, what better way to be aware then through the food we eat. I pulled up my socks as the saying goes and went to have a talk with some of the owners and managers of our local restaurants. The thing is, they are there to make money by giving their customers good food. I worked up a sales pitch in my mind and it went like this.

As you know, Diabetes is the second most prevalent disease in America and in the world. Each year over 100,000 people are diagnosed with this disease in the US alone and that number is expected to grow at double that rate in less then a year from now. As it is now, one out of every 5 people is already a diabetic or pre-diabetic. Most of them don't dine out because there are no restaurants who serve a diabetic menu. If you think of it in terms of a customer base it equals to about 20% of the local population. So if your town or city has a population of say 200,000 that gives you about 40,000 new possible customers who would love to have a place where they could go to eat out with out having to worry about what is on the menu.

I am sorry to say that only two restaurants are considering having a diabetic menu, but that is better then none.

How would you approach the owner of a restaurant with the suggestion of a diabetic menu for their restaurant? Please share your thoughts on this.

10 replies

roxanne bohnnow
roxanne bohnnow 2014-11-13 16:22:53 -0600 Report

I was talking to the manager at our favorite restaurant here in Midland, Mi. and it turns out that he is a type 1 diabetic. We talked about the menu and those nights that the restaurant runs a special dinner menu. It wouldn't take much to come up with something that everyone could enjoy. Next Tuesday I am meeting with the manager and the owners to go over a number of new menu items. I am bringing with me a few Diabetic cook books and I will be looking for a few Diabetic magazines' that have illustrated recipes to make this even more fun. This first breakthrough is just what I was hoping for. If I can make this happen in my home town then so can you. We support each other here on this web site, so now lets put this support to work in our local communities. I am having so mush fun I could just pop.

Glucerna 2014-11-13 18:33:15 -0600 Report

You are making these opportunities happen, and just think of all the people with diabetes in your community who will benefit from your hard work. Thanks for the inspiration. ~Lynn @Glucerna

Type1Lou 2014-11-11 08:08:21 -0600 Report

I would be happy if all restaurants provided the nutritional information we see on food labels for their regular menu items. Many of the national chains have it available, but not all. Some chains are also providing lower fat and weight watcher menu items but some of those are higher carb than I want to eat. Also, it would be wonderful if all newspapers and magazines publishing recipes have that same data. I'm particularly concerned with carbohydrate content but others need sodium, fiber and fat content or some of the other values as well. I've been contemplating writing to the Tampa Bay Times to suggest adding the nutritional info to their Taste section recipes…your post may be the impetus I need to get me going! Thanks!

Glucerna 2014-11-11 22:04:25 -0600 Report

Information is power, right? Since there isn't just one type of diet that people with diabetes follow, encouraging restaurants to make nutrition information public is an excellent idea. Many restaurants are also open to requests for changes to menu items, such as serving sauces on the side or providing a double portion of vegetables instead of a vegetable and a starch. ~Lynn @Glucerna

Type1Lou 2014-11-12 15:36:59 -0600 Report

I ate out for lunch today at a restaurant that serves breakfast all day. My eggs came with either grits, homefries or hash browns. When I said I didn't want any of them, my server suggested tomatoes! It was a win-win for both of us!

Glucerna 2014-11-12 21:22:30 -0600 Report

I never would have thought to ask for tomatoes with breakfast foods. What a great idea! ~Lynn @Glucerna

vensa 2014-11-11 04:14:32 -0600 Report

Good suggestion James to keep it generic. Maybe, the restaurant can highlight as a symbol at the end of the menu item, [a] along with calories on it and [b] also mention if it is low-carb, fiber rich, low fat, low protein, high protein, vitamins C rich, low sodium/salt can be ordered specifically etc. And leave it to the customer to decide on their family's specific needs, either promoting positive health or managing different medical conditions. Maybe I would like to go one step further to have a QR / barcode which synchs up the menu item food recipe directly to my MyFitnessPal mobile app - how cool would that be - my wish list :)

roxanne bohnnow
roxanne bohnnow 2014-11-11 13:12:38 -0600 Report

I really like your barcode idea, but I don't use a cell phone and I know that most of the people I have met don't use them either. Still this is a great idea that should be looked into. I am going to talk to some geek friends of mine and see if there is a way to get this done, or even if it has already been done.

lilleyheidi 2014-11-11 02:46:49 -0600 Report

I really like what James suggested. Suggest to the owner/manager that they print the carb count on the menu, even calorie count because so many people in this world are "diet" conscious.

jayabee52 2014-11-11 02:11:06 -0600 Report

Howdy Roxanne
Most PWDs (people with diabetes) can eat out with enough knowledge about what they are eating. I eat out occasionally and can follow a Diabetes friendly eating plan.

What I have trouble with is my CKD menu planning necessary for dialysis. I should not have dairy products, which eliminates anything with cheese on it (so no cheeseburgers) I should not eat tomatoes or tomato products or sauces, and a lot of other eating restrictions.

What I would suggest is ask them not to make a separate diabetes menu but note in the menu (when they print one which many places do on a quarterly basis) things which are diabetes friendly and include the carb level of the food. That way they don't have the expense of printing two separate menus.

I doubt that they'll include a Kidney friendly notation in the menu as fewer folks have that problem, and the rules are complicated to follow.

I pray you success in your endeavor