Many trends in diets and dietary restrictions have come and gone, with restaurants occasionally giving them a slight nod with one or two dishes that fit within the guidelines. However, there's one special diet that is gaining acceptance at whole new level - gluten-free.
The difference in this trend is that restaurants aren't just making one or two menu items or a recommendation of how to order their items. They're creating entire menus, making the choices almost seamless with their regular menu.
All the diner has to do is request the gluten-free menu and a whole range of options are available. Gone are the days of always ordering the safe bet, a garden salad, hold the croutons.
Nationwide chain restaurants are some of the front-runners in making gluten-free options widely available to diners. Of restaurants in the Northeast Arkansas market, Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, and Longhorn Steakhouse have dedicated menus.
Even pizzerias are jumping on the wagon with gluten-free crusts; national chain Dominos and Lazzari's Italian Oven in Jonesboro, Arkansas both offer guests the choice.
Now closed, local eatery Sookie's in Jonesboro, Ark. was entirely based around offering gluten-free dining, featuring cupcakes, sandwiches, and a number of ordinarily off-limits bakery items. Despite the restaurant's closing after just a few years in business, just noting that it was possible in a moderate size market for a restaurant based around a specific set of nutritional guidelines could exist and even thrive for some time indicates gluten-free isn't merely a quickly fading fad.
All of this adds up to good news for the consumer. Restaurants are listening to their patrons and taking action. Will other diets gain enough public recognition to accomplish the same impact on the restaurant industry? It's possible, with encouragement to the restaurant industry from consumers in conjunction with suppliers offering ingredients to make the choices workable in the restaurant kitchens.
Read more about how five restaurant chains brought gluten-free options into their menus here: http://nrn.com/latest-headlines/how-5-restaurant-chains-went-gluten-free