Healthy Employees and Menus Improve Your Restaurant’s Bottom Line
Because so many of us enjoy dining out, restaurants have a great opportunity to impact the health of their communities. By implementing healthy new policies like going smoke-free, offering and promoting healthy menu options and offering healthier preparations at no upcharge, restaurants will make it easier for Louisiana residents to live well.
By implementing changes to improve the health of your employees through our WellSpot Designation program, restaurants can positively impact the health of the community. We support Louisiana restaurants by providing the resources and tools you need to encourage healthy habits like healthy eating, chronic disease management and prevention and quitting tobacco.
Mary-Brennan Faucheux at MJ’s Café in Baton Rouge is one of the many restaurant owners in Louisiana who has taken the lead in moving the health of her community forward. Learn about how Mary-Brennan implemented healthy changes at her restaurant to become a WellSpot. Like Mary-Brennan, change can begin with you—take the lead in your community today!
Apply for the Worksite Wellness Mini-Grant!
Want to implement or expand your worksite wellness program? Eligible WellSpots can receive up to $3,000 to make sustainable changes that support employee health and wellbeing at their worksite.
Level-up Your Restaurant
Restaurants that meet certain benchmarks can be designated as a Level 1, 2 or 3 WellSpot, with Level 1 being the highest.
- Three healthy menu options
- Three additional benchmarks of choice
- Smoke-free Policy
- Three healthy menu options
- Five additional benchmarks of choice
- Tobacco-free Policy
- Three healthy menu options
- All benchmarks met
WellSpot Benchmarks for a Healthier Restaurant
Well-Ahead is here to help your restaurant be a leader by becoming a WellSpot. When you implement these evidence-based benchmarks, you will improve the health of your staff and patrons and move Louisiana’s health forward!
Comprehensive Smoke-Free Policy
Because approximately 20% of the nation’s adult workforce still smokes cigarettes, Well-Ahead encourages restaurants to help Louisiana residents geaux tobacco free. The first step is implementing our Smoke-Free Policy benchmark. It’s an effective way to reduce exposure to smoke at your organization and the danger it presents to your employees and patrons.
A Smoke-Free Policy prohibits smoking on your restaurant’s property, including parking lots and company vehicles. For leased properties, the policy must cover 25 feet from each entry point of the restaurant.
Copy of policy.
Comprehensive Tobacco-Free Policy
By implementing a Tobacco-Free Policy, you can reduce tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure and improve the health of your employees and patrons.
A Tobacco-Free Policy prohibits the use of all forms of tobacco products on your restaurant’s property, including parking lots and company vehicles. For leased properties, the policy must cover 25 feet from each entry point of the restaurant.
Copy of policy.
Promotion of Quit With Us, Louisiana or Another Approved Cessation Service Organization
By promoting free cessation services to your employees, you are doing your part to help fight the leading cause of preventable death and the source of many chronic diseases and conditions that cause long-term suffering.1,2
You can promote your in-house cessation programs (if applicable) or Quit With Us, Louisiana. This free cessation resource links individuals who want to quit using tobacco with trained specialists through phone counseling, web support or both.
Written description or pictures of ways in which Quit With Us, Louisiana or other service is promoted to employees.
Participation in the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition’s “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” Campaign
Your restaurant can support breastfeeding mothers by participating in the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition’s Breastfeeding Welcome Here Campaign. To meet this benchmark, your restaurant signs a pledge and displays a window cling to show support for a mother’s right to breastfeed anytime, anywhere.
Copy of signed pledge form, picture of campaign poster and/or window cling, or verification with the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition.
Promotion of the 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! Healthy Workplaces Message in at Least Two Ways
5-2-1-0 is a simple message that encourages healthy eating and physical activity. It recommends the following for each day:
- 5 or more fruits and vegetables
- 2 hours or less of recreational screen time
- 1 hour or more of physical activity
- 0 soda and sweetened drinks (more water and low-fat milk).
This WellSpot benchmark is a way for you to help your employees make positive changes to improve their health and decrease their risk for chronic diseases, including diabetes and obesity. There are many ways you can promote the 5-2-1-0 message:
- Share the message at a staff meeting.
- Add the message to employee check stub envelopes.
- Add the message to your menu.
- Promote the message on your digital platforms, including social media and emails.
- Display a 5-2-1-0 poster in the employee break room.
Written description or pictures of at least two ways in which the 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! Healthy Workplaces message is promoted to employees.
Promotion of Self-Assessment Tools for Prediabetes and Heart Health Among Employees
By promoting self-assessment tools, you can help your employees better understand their health and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. As a result, your employees will miss less work due to illness or hospitalization and have lower healthcare costs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 108 million Americans have high blood pressure, and more than 30 million Americans have diabetes.3,4 Encourage your employees to take the self-assessments to better understand their health.
Please note that these evidence-based self-assessments have been developed by national partners and should not be used in place of a visit to a healthcare provider.
Self-Assessment Tools for Heart Health:
- My Life Check by American Heart Association
- Sample Communication to Promote Heart Health Self-Assessments
Self-Assessment Tools for Prediabetes:
Written description or pictures of ways in which the self-assessment tools are promoted.
Restaurant Has Staff Trained to Offer Healthy Menu Options
Because the restaurant business is built on the preparation and serving of food, you have a real opportunity to positively impact the eating habits of Louisiana residents. Implementing this benchmark can not only help improve the overall health of your patrons, but it can also lead to a growth in business. According to the National Restaurant Association, three-quarters of consumers say they are more likely to visit restaurants that offer healthful items.5
One way to encourage healthier eating is by training restaurant staff to suggest healthy options to patrons. Statements like, “Would you like that baked or grilled?” and “What vegetable would you like with your entrée?” can be very effective in helping patrons choose wisely by choosing healthy.
Description provided by restaurants as to how they meet the elements of the benchmark.
Offer at Least Three Healthy Choice Menu Options at Each Meal Time that Meet Approved Nutrition Guidelines
Louisiana is known worldwide for its cuisine. And as our many outstanding local restaurants have shown, delicious meals can also be healthy meals.
You are in the perfect position to help make the healthy choice the easy choice for Louisiana residents. To meet this benchmark, your restaurant should offer at least three healthy entrees at each meal time. For cafés, coffee houses and bars, three healthy options may include snack/side items, specialty beverages or food options.
Well-Ahead, along with Ochsner Eat Fit, provides you with assistance and support on effective ways to offer healthier menu choices. Eat Fit collaborated with local restaurants in several Louisiana regions to identify and develop guidelines for menu items that meet certain nutritional standards without skimping on flavor.
Copy of menu showing healthy options indicated for patrons. Description as to how each menu item meets approved nutrition guidelines or proof that menu items have been designated by an approved program partner.
Offer at Least Three Low Sodium Entrée Options with Less Than 800mg of Sodium
When it comes to salt, less is better. An abundance of sodium can lead to increased blood pressure and risk for heart disease and stroke, a leading cause of death in our state.
Well-Ahead Louisiana works with you to reduce sodium in your recipes to improve the health of your patrons.
Provide nutritional information of dishes showing 800mg or less of sodium.
Offer Healthy Options on Kids’ Menu, Including at Least One Non-Fried Protein, One Steamed Vegetable and Low-Fat Milk or Water as the Default Beverage
With more families on the go and eating out, your restaurant plays an important role in the fight against childhood obesity.
We encourage your restaurant to offer healthy menu options on their kid’s menu, including at least one non-fried protein, one steamed vegetable and low-fat milk or water as the default beverage. In addition, your restaurant should implement the following:
- Have two or more healthy choice or low-calorie/fat entrees that include fruit and/or vegetables
- Train staff to offer/promote healthy menu options to children
- Train staff to offer low-fat milk or unsweetened beverages to children (other beverages are available at parent’s request)
- Have a “no up-charge” policy for alternate healthy preparation, healthy sides or different presentation
Copy of children’s menu.
Restaurant Willing to Accommodate for Dietary Restrictions of Patrons
These days, there’s more to mealtime than simply meat and potatoes. Many people choose alternative types of diets either by choice or medical necessity. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free are three diet options for smarter and healthier eating.
Implementing this benchmark is an impactful way for your restaurant to be more welcoming to those who follow these diets. By accommodating dietary restrictions, you’re helping create a culture of wellness that can move Louisiana’s health forward.
To meet this benchmark, restaurants should consider offering:
- Gluten-free menu items
- Vegetarian and/or vegan menu items
- No added salt
- Pescatarian-friendly menu items and meal preparation
Description provided by restaurants as to how they meet the elements of the criteria.
Restaurant Has at Least One Staff Member Trained in ServSafe Allergens and Includes a Notation on the Menu Requesting Customers to Inform Servers About Food Allergies
Your restaurant can help address the issue of food allergies, which affect an estimated 32 million Americans, including 5.6 million being children under the age of 18.6 The food item most people are allergic to is a Louisiana favorite – shellfish, which includes crawfish, shrimp, crabs and oysters. Because of this, your staff must have the training necessary to reduce the threat of a patron experiencing a food allergen episode.
The ServSafe Allergens ™ online, interactive course offers critical information restaurant managers and employees need to accommodate guests with food allergies. The course covers topics such as identifying allergens, communicating with guests, preventing cross-contact, food labeling and more. In addition to having staff members certified in ServSafe Allergens training, you should also include a notation on your menu asking patrons to let servers know about their food allergies.
Copy of ServSafe Allergens certificate and menu with a statement requesting customers to inform servers about food allergies.
Implementation of Two or More Healthy Restaurant Practices
You can make the healthy choice the easy choice for your patrons. Making small changes to recipes to reduce salt or promoting healthy menu options as the daily special is just the beginning. Through this benchmark, your restaurant should implement other ideas that help Louisiana residents make healthy choices when dining out. These practices include:
- Serve meals on 10″ plates or smaller
- Design children’s placemats/coloring pages with healthy messages
- Serve all fruits and vegetables from locally grown sources
- Have all side dishes default to healthy options
- Offer a beverage size option that is 16 ounces or less
- Provide nutritional information of dishes or specialty drinks to patrons
- Promote a healthy menu option as the daily special
Pictures or written descriptions of how healthy restaurant practices are implemented.