What is in this article?:
- Silver Diner's executive chef on building a healthful kids' menu
- Exposing kids to new flavors
Ype von Hengst, co-founder and executive, says Silver Diner restaurants have seen success with healthful kids' items
Exposing kids to new flavors
I remember you asked the kids how many had tried salmon before and most of them had not. And yet most of them said they liked the salmon. It is so important to keep exposing kids to new foods, and it’s exciting to see that you are offering such a wide variety of items that meet the Kids LiveWell guidelines. Tell us about your other Kids LiveWell items.
We have 20 menu items that meet the nutritional standards of the Kids LiveWell program. A really popular item is our kids' sliders. We offer them in bison, beef and and black bean veggie. Kids also like our teriyaki salmon and entrees served with brown rice, edamame and mixed veggies.
We are offering a lot of healthier sides like fresh strawberries, green salad, edamame, brown rice, applesauce and mixed veggies. Last year we found that we had more kids ordering strawberries than fries. And more kids were ordering juice and milk than soda. So we knew that was our opportunity to really treat our kids well by dropping fries and soda from our kids' menu. They can still order them — they're just not promoted. And kids and their parents don’t seem to miss them at all.
And you have sales data that shows you are making a difference in kids’ lives. Tell us about that.
Yes, our sales of kids' salads are up 63 percent, mixed veggies are up 32 percent and strawberries are up 100 percent. And sales of our sausage, bacon and home fries are down about 60 percent. I am really proud of this. We are truly feeding our kids much healthier and they like that.
You’ve made so much progress in the last few years, and I am so glad to hear it is good for your business. What’s in store for this year?
I am working on new recipes now. They are extensions of what we are already doing because we want to continue to add a wider variety of healthy dining choices. We are looking at adding more vegetarian and pescatarian choices. I’m also working on some healthier desserts and lactose-free desserts.
Contact Anita Jones-Mueller, M.P.H., at firstname.lastname@example.org.