WellSpot Benchmarks for Restaurants

Serving the Community a Healthier Future

Healthy Employees and Menus Improve Your Workplace’s Bottom Line

Because so many of us enjoy spending time with family and friends dining out, restaurants have a great opportunity to impact the health of their communities. By implementing healthy new policies like adopting a comprehensive smoke-free policy, 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 are equipped to play a role in positively impacting 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.

Restaurants that meet certain benchmarks can be designated as a Level 1, 2 or 3 WellSpot, with Level 1 being the highest.

Level 3

  • Three healthy menu options
  • Three additional benchmarks of choice

Level 2

  • Smoke-free policy
  • Three healthy menu options
  • Five additional benchmarks of choice

Level 1

  • Tobacco-free policy
  • Three healthy menu options
  • All benchmarks met
WellSpot Benchmarks for a Healthier Restaurant

Health Standards for Restaurants

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!

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 that you can 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 properties that are leased, the policy must cover 25 feet from each entry point of the restaurant.

Required Documentation:
Copy of 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 properties that are leased, the policy must cover 25 feet from each entry point of the restaurant.

Required Documentation:
Copy of policy.

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 the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline. The Quitline is a free cessation resource that links individuals who want to quit using tobacco with trained specialists through phone counseling, web support or both.

Required Documentation:
Written description or pictures of ways in which the LA Tobacco Quitline or other service is promoted to employees.

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 of a mother’s right to breastfeed anytime, anywhere.

Required Documentation:
Copy of signed pledge form, picture of campaign poster and/or window cling, or verification with the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition.

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 on 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 your employees make positive changes to improve their health and decrease their risk for chronic diseases including diabetes and obesity. 

There are a number of 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.
Required Documentation:
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.

By promoting self-assessment tools, you can help your employees better understand their health and reduce the risk for 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 have a better understanding of 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

Heart Age Predictor Using BMI by CDC

Sample Communication to Promote Heart Health Self-Assessments 

Self-Assessment Tools for Prediabetes:

Prediabetes Risk Test by CDC, AMA, ADA and Ad Council

Sample Communication to Promote Prediabetes Self-Assessment

Required Documentation:
Written description or pictures of ways in which the self-assessment tools are promoted.

Because the restaurant business is built on the preparation and serving of food, you have a real opportunity to positively impact eating habits of Louisiana residents. Not only can implementing this benchmark help improve the overall health of your patrons, 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.

Required Documentation:
Description provided by restaurants as to how they meet the elements of the benchmark.

Louisiana is known worldwide for its cuisine. And as our many outstanding local restaurants have shown, delicious meals can also be healthy meals. This is key if we’re going to improve our state’s health outcomes.

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 provide 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.

Required Documentation:
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

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.

Required Documentation:
Provide nutritional information of dishes showing 800mg or less of sodium.

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
Required Documentation:
Copy of children’s menu.

These days, there’s more to mealtime than simply meat and potatoes. By choice or medical necessity, many people are choosing alternative types of diets. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free are just three that diners are following to eat smarter and healthier. 

Implementing this benchmark is an impactful way that your restaurant can 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
Required Documentation:
Description provided by restaurants as to how they meet the elements of the criteria.

Your restaurant can help more effectively address the issue of food allergies, which researchers estimate affect 32 million Americans, including 5.6 million being children under the age of 18.6 The food item most people were allergic to is a Louisiana favorite – shellfish, which includes crawfish, shrimp, crabs and oysters. Because of this, it’s critical for your staff to 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 in order to accommodate guests with food allergies. The course covers such topics 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 also need to include a notation on your menu asking patrons to let servers know about their food allergies.

Required Documentation:
Copy of ServSafe Allergens certificate and menu with statement requesting customers to inform servers about food allergies.

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
Required Documentation:
Pictures or written descriptions of how healthy restaurant practices are implemented.

You can register to become a WellSpot. Take the assessment to begin.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses—United States, 2000–2004. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2008;57(45):1226–8. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5745a3.htm

2 American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control Report for Louisiana. Retrieved from: http://www.stateoftobaccocontrol.org/state-grades/louisiana/highlights.html

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Facts About Hypertension in the United States. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm

4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Diabetes Quick Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/quick-facts.html

5 National Restaurant Association. Technology, Lifestyle Food Choices Evolving Trends for Restaurant Industry in 2015. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/technology-lifestyle-food-choices-evolving-trends-for-restaurant-industry-in-2015-300031921.html

6 https://www.foodallergy.org/resources/facts-and-statistics