What does IHOP have to hide that Denny’s doesn’t? And what’s so mysterious about Krispy Kreme? Why is their info so difficult to find, while competitor Dunkin’ Donuts has extensive, easy to locate information on their website? These are the questions we found ourselves asking after evaluating 51 chain restaurants websites and their nutritional information pages. Or lack of them.
We rated the restaurants on the availability/completeness of information, how easy it was to locate and retrieve the information, and whether or not there was additional information such as allergy info.
The best sites had it all. We saw nutrition calculators, tips for healthy eating, gluten info, allergy info, and special information for diabetics. The worst sites had nothing at all. We were surprised to find that it wasn’t simply small restaurant chains that were failing to provide nutritional information. There were several major restaurants that completely failed to provide even basic information about their food.
IHOP, California Pizza Kitchen, Olive Garden, Bennigan’s and TGIF were among the biggest names that failed to provide any nutritional information. Applebee’s made excuses in their FAQ about “distributors,” but similar restaurants like Chili’s seem to have no problem providing information for their entire menu. Red Lobster provided allergy info and nothing more. Quiznos provided nutritional information on only two of its menu items, while competitor Subway had some of the most extensive information around. What are these restaurants hiding?
We challenge the restaurants who received ratings of “Nonexistent” or “Poor” to address the way in which they provide nutritional information to their customers. Because if a restaurant is hiding something in their website, goodness knows what’s in the food. —MEGHANN MARCO
|Restaurant||Nutritional Information Provided For All Items?||Nutritional Info Easy To Locate?||Allergen Info?||Rating?||Is there a nutrition page?|
|Applebee’s||No||No||No||Nonexistent||No, Just some Weight Watchers stuff|
|California Pizza Kitchen||No||No||No||Nonexistent||No|
|Domino’s Pizza||Yes||Yes||No||Above Average||Yes|
|International House of Pancakes||No||No||No||Nonexistent||No|
|Jack In The Box||Yes||No||Yes||Average–the Nutrition & Allergy info is hidden away on the “Our Food” page.||No|
|Jamba Juice||Yes||Yes||No||Above Average||Yes|
|Krispy Kreme||Yes||No||No||Poor||PDF only|
|Little Caesar’s||Yes||Yes||No||Above Average||Yes|
| Lone Star S
|Long John Silver’s||Yes||Yes||Yes||Excellent||Yes|
|Outback Steak House||No||Yes||Yes||Poor-No specific information on menu items, but plenty of suggestions on eating. healthier||Yes|
|Quiznos||No||No||No||Poor–only two items listed on “nutrition” page.||Yes|
|Red Lobster||No||No||Yes||Poor–no nutrition page, only brief allergy page.||No|
|Ruby Tuesday’s||Yes||No||No||Poor–hard to find. pdfs suck||PDF only|
|Sonic||Yes||No||No||Poor–nutrition guide is extensive, but it’s only available by 9-page pdf||PDF only|
|Starbucks||Yes||Yes||No||Above average (they have no allergy info, but give a customer care phone number)||Yes|
|Steak ‘N Shake||Yes||Yes||No||Above Average||Yes|
|Subway||Yes||Yes||Yes||Excellent–extensive info, as one would expect.||Yes|
|Taco Bell||Yes||No||Yes||Above Average– the nutrition calculator is great, but not super-easy to find.||Yes|
|Taco John’s||No||Yes (though it’s “under construction”)||No||Poor–they tease you with a Nutrition link on the home page, but then it’s “under construction” and they give you phone number.||No|
|Uno’s Chicago Grill||Yes||Yes||Yes||Excellent–nice presentation||Yes|
|White Castle||Yes||Yes||No||Above Average||Yes|