Funding agencies: This research was supported by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and JPB Foundation.
Changes in children's meal orders following healthy menu modifications at a regional US restaurant chain
Version of Record online: 28 APR 2015
© 2015 The Obesity Society
Volume 23, Issue 5, pages 1055–1062, May 2015
How to Cite
Anzman-Frasca, S., Mueller, M. P., Sliwa, S., Dolan, P. R., Harelick, L., Roberts, S. B., Washburn, K. and Economos, C. D. (2015), Changes in children's meal orders following healthy menu modifications at a regional US restaurant chain. Obesity, 23: 1055–1062. doi: 10.1002/oby.21061
Disclosure: The authors declared no conflict of interest.
Author contributions: SAF contributed to study design, data analysis, data interpretation, writing, and revising of the manuscript; MM contributed to writing and revising; SS contributed to data analysis, data interpretation, writing, and revising; PRD and LH contributed to revising; SBR contributed to data interpretation and revising; KW contributed to study design and revising; and CDE contributed to study design, data interpretation, and revising.
This article first published online ahead of print on 28 April 2015. It has since been updated. The Author contributions paragraph was moved to page 1055.
- Issue online: 28 APR 2015
- Version of Record online: 28 APR 2015
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 JAN 2015
- Manuscript Received: 4 SEP 2014
To examine changes in children's meal orders, price, and revenue following the implementation of a healthier children's menu in a full-service restaurant chain.
In April 2012, the healthier menu was implemented, featuring more meals meeting nutrition standards, healthy side dishes by default, and removal of French fries and soda (which could be substituted). Orders (n = 352,192) were analyzed before (September 2011 to March 2012; PRE) and after (September 2012 to March 2013; POST) implementation.
Children's meal prices increased by $0.79 for breakfasts and $0.19 for non-breakfast meals from PRE to POST. Revenue continued to increase post-implementation. Orders of healthy meals, strawberry and vegetable sides, milk, and juice increased, and orders of French fries and soda decreased (P < 0.0001). Orders at POST were more likely to include healthy sides (P < 0.0001) and substitutions (P < 0.0001) and less likely to include a la carte sides (P < 0.0001) and desserts (P < 0.01), versus PRE. Total calories ordered by children accepting all defaults decreased (684.2 vs. 621.2; P < 0.0001) and did not change for those not accepting defaults (935.0 vs. 942.9; P = 0.57).
Healthy children's menu modifications were accompanied by healthier ordering patterns, without removing choice or reducing revenue, suggesting that they can improve child nutrition while restaurants remain competitive.