Mitchells & Butlers' leading restaurant brand Harvester, which serves around 25 million meals each year, is the first UK-wide restaurant brand to print dish-by-dish calorie information on menus within its 176 outlets across England, Scotland and Wales.
Launching in Harvester restaurants today, calorie information will be printed on menus for individual dishes including starters, mains, sauces, sides and desserts. With over 1,500 combinations available on its Salad & Grill menu, the brand is enabling its customers to choose a meal appropriate to their taste, eating-out occasion or personal calorie preference.
Harvester has also developed a web based calorie counter for its menu and in the coming weeks will launch a free to download iPhone application which will provide finger tip access to menus, calorie information, nutritional breakdowns and allergen guidance. These innovations mean customers will soon have three clear ways to access calorie information; online, via a smart phone and on menus in restaurants.
Adam Martin, marketing & strategy director for Mitchells & Butlers, comments: "Harvester has printed calorie information on menus in an unobtrusive manner. This will provide important information to customers dining with us regularly without detracting from the eating-out experience of customers enjoying a treat. How this information is used and what affect it has is down to the individual, but we recognise there is a growing appetite for calorie information and we're utilising our menu format and technology to help deliver it in an innovative way."
Harvester, which has provided a full nutritional and allergen breakdown of its menu online since 2007, has always been committed to seeking its customers' views on the provision of calorie information for its menus and the way in which this information is communicated. This helped shape the development of its Salad & Grill menu which launched in June 2010.
The Salad & Grill menu concept - in which a customer selects a grilled dish before choosing a sauce, a side dish and visiting the iconic Harvester Salad Cart - offers over 1,500 possible meal combinations, meaning diners have maximum possible choice over their meals.
Alex Meyer, senior marketing manager for Harvester, comments: "Our research and menu trials demonstrated that the vast majority of Harvester customers support the decision to print calorie information on menus whether it is of personal interest to them or not. The key aspect to this initiative has been the design and delivery of our Salad & Grill concept as it enabled us to provide individual calorie values item by item, making the information practical and usable for customers."
Last year Mitchells & Butlers, which serves around 125 million meals each year, announced a new strategy to grow its restaurant and pub brands and to open on retail parks and the high street. Recently Harvester has opened new format restaurants on the high street in Staines, on a retail park in Bristol and at the 02 Arena, whilst the brand is also trialling take-away and breakfast offers across the business.
Alex Meyer adds: "Harvester is expanding in highly-competitive locations and catering for a broader spectrum of eating-out occasions including breakfast, lunch, evening meals and takeaway. Providing calorie information on menus and developing our innovative calorie counter and iPhone app provide further reasons for people to visit Harvester."