How Restaurants are Going Green and Offering Healthier Choices

 Change can definitely be a good thing. Not sure? Just ask some of your favorite major restaurants making fresh starts by reenergizing their established brands.

Healthy Food

Whether they call it a refresh strategy, a new and modern approach, an upgrade, a transformation, or a new chapter, the change is a chance for restaurants to update and reinvent their menu, recharge their customer service and improve their eateries’ look and feel – all with you in mind.

The restaurants we’re talking about have found success with their re-launches. The reason? The transformations have been relevant to what guests like you want, including healthier food and more appealing surroundings. The result? Effective brand revitalizations just waiting to tempt you through the doors.

Here’s a look at how three successful restaurants are now serving up something new for you, their loyal customers:

At California Pizza Kitchen, CEO G.J. Hart is focused on the company’s brand evolution, what he calls “our next chapter.”

So far, 22 out of their 280 restaurants have been transformed to have an upscale feel and attention to sustainability. Sixty more transformations will happen this year, with the rest scheduled to be finished in 2016.  Has your local California Pizza Kitchen been transformed yet?

Among the physical changes: using natural elements, like oak floors; table tops made from reclaimed wood; countertops of natural stone; and artifacts from salvaged metal.
CPK’s yellow and black color scheme is still active, adding to the restaurant’s warm, rustic décor.

“We consider every one of our transformations as a quasi-new restaurant opening, with lots of training and momentum,” Hart tells Jones-Mueller.

Their signature pizzas are now hand-tossed and as always, cooked in a pizza oven. The menu has been revamped with an emphasis on healthy and made-from-scratch meals. Their kitchens use over 175 fresh ingredients every day.

“Our remodeled locations emphasize our healthy elements even further. Guests can see the fresh vegetables above the prep stations, and our fresh herbs are growing in gardens near the host station,” says Hart, noting they have many younger foodies as customers and explaining that their core guest is sophisticated.

Rubio’s, now known as a Coastal Mexican Grill, used to be called Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill or a Baja Grill. In launching what founder Ralph Rubio calls “a new rendition of our name,” the eatery, which has 193 restaurants, is now more focused on modern coastal cuisine than on the beach.

“Our mantra is lighter, brighter and fresher,” Rubio tells HealthyDiningFinder’s CEO Anita Jones-Mueller.

The restaurant has reworked its menu to include more vegetables; many of their dishes now include their citrus rice; and they’re considering adding quinoa as a rice alternative. They’re also testing grilled fajitas.

The restaurant is making over their décor, too.

“We have integrated a more modern and upscale look and feel in our restaurants with honey colored, natural finish tables and warm colors,” says Rubio. “It all works together with our menu to please our guests.”

Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes are finding success with their new “Discover Fresh,” campaign, focused on dedication to farm-to-table food at their 128 restaurants.

Here’s how it works: Within hours of harvest, fresh produce is sent to Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes kitchens, where prep chefs are cleaning, hand-chopping and cooking with the fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We are really focused on our guests, telling them our farm-to-kitchen story because consumers want to know where their food is coming from,” said John Morberg, CEO of Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. (parent company of Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes) in a statement. “We have been focused on farm-fresh food for decades, and authentically telling that story provides our guests with valuable insights so they can rest assured our food is always of the highest-quality.”

Members of the company’s Farm Teams are brand ambassadors who will interact with guests at the restaurants, talking about the food used and where it comes from. For example, Farm Team members will tell guests how the restaurant pickles its beets in house and doesn’t use preservatives in the salad dressings, (which are made fresh daily from oil, vinegar, herbs and spices).

Ready to check out what’s new at these restaurants? When you’re there, be sure to order selections to make the most of your visit:

California Pizza Kitchen