When people go out to restaurants, they don't care about eating healthy. Great chefs know the secret to food people want is unreal levels of butter. Fast food restaurants have been convinced to spend tens of millions of dollars marketing healthy choices for kids, like apples, and they are basically invisible to children.
People don't want to overpay for the same food they will get at home and they don't care about labels. But when they fill out surveys they will claim to care about labels, which is not the same thing. When it comes to food, behavior and claims are often radically different, yet a small survey in
the International Journal of Hospitality Management is used to advance the agenda that restaurants should want to incur more costs to obey a meaningless government regulation.
The authors from Penn State and the University of Tennessee
claim the results prove customers are more likely to frequent restaurants that provide both healthful foods and nutrition information and so restaurants should stop objecting.
"The Affordable Care Act has mandated that chain restaurants -- those with more than 20 restaurants -- provide nutrition information to customers," said David Cranage, associate professor of hospitality management. "Many restaurants had been fighting this legislation because they thought they would lose customers if the customers knew how unhealthy their food was. In this study, we found that customers perceive restaurants to be socially responsible when they are provided with nutrition facts and healthful options and, therefore, are more likely to patronize those restaurants."
All true. And then customers order the fettuccine alfredo. If it were not on the menu, they are going somewhere else.
The academics presented students with various scenarios, including the presence or absence of nutrition information and the presence or absence of healthful foods. They asked them to read example menus presenting these scenarios and to answer questions about their perception of the restaurant's corporate social responsibility, their attitude, their willingness to select the restaurants and their health-consciousness. Because social responsibility is why people go out to eat?
If so, the results bear that out. When a restaurant presented nutrition information and served healthful food options, the participants were significantly more likely to perceive that the restaurant was socially responsible. They also claimed they would visit it more frequently.
Unsurprisingly, participants who were highly health-conscious were more likely than low health-conscious people to think that the restaurant was socially responsible when it provided healthful food options. However, when exposed to nutrition information, participants perceived the restaurant to be socially responsible, regardless of their level of health-consciousness.
"These results suggest that highly health-conscious people are more sensitive to being able to obtain healthful foods at restaurants than less health-conscious people, regardless of whether or not nutrition information is provided," Cranage said.