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Friday, May 14, 2010

Eat'n Park's commitment to healthy eating wins a positive review

If you’ve been following us here on our blog, you know that we have a strong commitment to the communities in which we do business. For years, we’ve taken steps to ensure that our guests recognize Eat’n Park as a trusted source not just for healthy, local food, but for business practices that put our guests and their communities first.

But we don’t always publicize everything we’re doing, so we aren’t surprised when guests are unaware of our efforts. Recently, a blogger caught our attention with when he mentioned Eat’n Park in one of his posts. Jim, a veteran of the food service industry, writes a blog called the “Food Vigilante," where he seeks to expose the good, the bad, and the ugly in the world of food service.

Back in March, the Food Vigilante (FV, for short) was reviewing his experience at a local ethnic restaurant, and recommended that his readers go there, rather than to an “Eat n’ Park…or any other family chain and certainly not to a fast food joint. You’ll just be wasting your money on processed food.”

Well, of course that caught our attention. I posted a response to FV to let him know about our hand-breaded fish, our local produce, and our hand-cut veggies, among other things. “Give us another try,” I said. FV called us out – if we could show him what we’re doing to provide our guests with fresh, healthy food, he’d eat his words. Challenge accepted.

I set up a meeting with FV, and invited some of my colleagues: fellow blog contributors Jamie and Regis, as well as Brooks, who oversees purchasing; and Mercy, who heads up operations. FV brought his concerns to the table, and to his surprise, we explained how we shared those same concerns, and how we had addressed them. Trans-fat-free fryer oil that’s recycled into biodiesel fuel – check. Catering to guests’ dietary needs with gluten-free, reduced-sodium, vegetarian, and low-cal, low-fat items - check. Buying fresh produce from local farmers – check (actually, we’ve pretty much pioneered local sourcing in this area).

FV was floored to learn about these initiatives, and he stayed true to his word. Click here to visit FV’s blog to read his take on our meeting. Hopefully, you’ll agree that we’ve risen to the challenge.

And to our new friend, the Food Vigilante, we thank you for the opportunity to share our efforts with you and your readers. We look forward to seeing you at Eat’n Park!

Kevin O’Connell
S.V.P. of Marketing Share

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