Portion Sizes: Progress at T.G.I. Friday’s?

I just finished reading a very interesting article in the New York Times (Sunday March 25, 2007, Section 3, pages 1,9,10-www.nytimes.com) entitled “Will Diners Still Swallow this? The article was written by Andrew Martin and discusses the new T.G.I. Friday’s initiative to offer smaller portion sizes at lower prices. Apparently, the company’s strategy is to increase business by appealing to the health-conscious consumer.

Portion size and the obesity epidemic

Some of you may remember one of my recent postings about the U.S. obesity epidemic in which I discussed the role of increased portions sizes contributing to our current largesse. Apparently, T.G.I. Friday’s will offer 10 items on their menu that are about 40% fewer calories and about 30% cheaper. It may not work well as a marketing strategy but I applaud the effort and dare other chain restaurants to do the same. I doubt T.G.I. Friday’s efforts will “cost them” since customers can still order gigantic portion sizes and probably will, but maybe not? It will be interesting to see the data in a year of so; how many customers are going for the smaller portion size items and what did it do to the bottom line. Of course, maybe T.G.I. Friday’s will support this initiative even if it doesn’t do wonders for the company’s profit? We’ll see. At least for now, three cheers for Richard Snead (chief executive of Carlson Restaurants Worldwide).

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