Monday, June 9, 2008

Cheddar's Restaurant Nutrition Information

I went out to eat this week-end at Cheddar's restaurant. When I got back I was curious how many calories were in the meal I had. Like most anyone else would do, I searched the web. To my surprise, you can not find it anywhere! There were numerous other posts and blogs that confirmed this. I was under the impression restaurants were required by law to provide this information. But I was wrong.

At the federal level, there is the 'Nutrition Labeling and Education Act' which gives the FDA authority to require labeling, but there were exceptions for restaurants that allowed them to avoid it. However if the company makes any nutritional claims (like 'low fat', 'low fiber', 'low sodium', etc), they are required to provide the information. A few states apparently have recently enacted laws within their boundaries to require nutritional information for chain restaurants (ones with 'standardized menus'), but North Carolina is not one of them.

I find it pretty disrespectful they don't provide this information, so I won't be visiting their establishment again even though both my wife and I enjoyed it.

Shame on you Cheddars! Step up and provide this information.

36 comments:

Audra said...

I'll go one better... I also looked on the net with no luck... I took it a step further and e-mailed the chain asking them about my specific meal. I still have not heard ANYTHING! Not one word back from them and it's been about 2 months. What TERRIBLE customer service!!!!!

Michael said...

you will find this to be true in most chain restaurants, especially those that vary their menus. It costs a lot of money to do and if you stray from a posted measurement, you will get sued by people that demand these findings on blogs like this. so... shame on you.

DietFacts said...

Hi Joe. I've been trying to acquire nutrition facts from Cheddar's for years. They certainly don't post them online or answer email requests. Have you ever tried asking the manager at the restaurant? (There are no Cheddar's in my area, otherwise I would try this myself.) Often restaurants have a nutritional notebook behind the counter that they can share with customers upon request. Sometimes they just list allergens but sometimes they have calories, fat, carbs, etc. Good luck!

jackodn said...

michael, nice try. Lots of restaurants post the nutritional value of their offerings, and there's no good reason Cheddar's won't except they don't want to publicize the unhealthiness of their menu.

"costs lots of money to do so" - what a crock. Let's see how much money it costs them NOT to do so - I wanted to take my family of four there tonight but won't because we can't determine if there is anything we can eat safely with our diet.

John and Sarah said...

I emailed the chain also. I have not heard back from them. Thanks for posting this. It was helpful. I'm going there tonight because I made plans ahead of time before knowing this, but I will not be returning again.

healthnut said...

This is ridiculous!! Other lager chain restaurants will post their nutritional value no matter the unhealthiness. We as consumers of the fattest nation in the world should be able to see the nutritional information in order to combat our struggle with obesity, heart disease, cholesterol, and type II diabetes! I am shocked and disappointed that Cheddar’s does not at least try and give us an estimate of the nutritional value in their food and until they do I will find another place to dine.

Drew Hughes said...

I love Cheddars and will continue to go there regardless if they post the info or not. I am also watching my health and weight and you can eat their sensibly without having the nutritional info. Stop whining!!!

tswann said...

We ate at Cheddar's last night for dinner. I am counting my calories/fat/carbs and all of that and went in search of their nutritiional info but to no avail. However, I did find this at dietfacts.org...
Cheddar's Casual Cafe®
(Nutrition Information is not available)
We have attempted to collect nutrition information for this restaurant and received the following reply:
"I'm sorry, but we have not developed formal nutrition information on our menu items. Our recipes, and the products we use in our recipes, can change frequently, and we are not confident that the values we could provide to you would be accurate or reliable. I apologize that we cannot be of more help.
Sincerely,
Cheddars Casual Cafe"


Hmmmm...makes you wonder what they put in their food...
--Tabatha

Ang said...

I too was searching for nutritional information from Cheddars and was shocked that they do not have it available anywhere on the net. How socially irresponsible!

RJW said...

FYI - It is very expensive... And while it's not required, if you do publish, you must be 100% accurate (or open yourself up to a lawsuit).

Most chains that publish their nutritional information have their food prepared at a commissary (in bulk) frozen, and shipped to the various restaurants. This means one sourced supplier and standardization among ingredients. Chains like Cheddar's, Olive Garden (and many others)that prepare a majority of their food from scratch, often must use regional variations of the same ingredient (example: 36% vs. 40% milk fat Heavy Whipping Cream, used in an Alfredo Sauce). These variations can make a tremendous difference in chemical and caloric makeup of these dishes.

Many chains use the same logic when customers ask for rare hamburgers. They tell the customer "no" because it's not with the risk of a customer becoming ill and suing (the disclaimers printed on the menus about under cooked meat does not protect the restaurant from being sued).

Why would and anyone open themselves up to a lawsuit?? And people really do sue over this. Just ask Chili's

April said...

I contacted the manager at our Cheddars and got a response from the Cheddars Franchise Office:

"Thank you for your comments. It is a pleasure to hear from our guests who enjoy Cheddar's. I wish I had better news today for you. Unfortunatley, we do not have a nutritional menu guide to advise you on an appropriate diet.

I will mention that we are primarily a scratch kitchen for many of our menu items. Some are prepared to order...which does allow a guest more flexibility in ordering, i.e most chicken dishes, all steaks, etc. . We do try to accommodate special requests as much as we are able. Menu deviations may require additional prepartion time. For health questions about whether a menu item may contain a restricted ingredient, that may be of a health consequence to a guest, we will always err on the side of caution in making any representation or recommendation.
Again, I am sorry there is no nutritional guide today to our printed menu. However it is a pending issue here at our corporate headquarters, as our guest's opinions are very important to us. We get several comments like yours a day and are working towards a solution. For the time being, hopefully a health professional can help you decide on appropriate Cheddar's menu items. And thank you for supporting our Cookeville Cheddar's.".

I think that eventually they will be forced to post this information since they are a chain restaurant.

Gwen said...

If they ever want to operate in New York City, by law, they are required to post their nutritional facts. Other cities are beginning to adopt these policies, as well, so it's only a matter of time before their nutrition facts are known. And if that doesn't happen soon, there are plenty of independent organizations currently working on digesting caloric intake from stubborn restaurants that refuse to post nutrition count.

Seneca said...

I have worked at Cheddars for three years now and know the ins and outs. I will tell you everything in our kitchen is made from scratch and does not have any wierd ingredients. Corporate has to go through many steps to approve nutritional info and they are trying. But since all Cheddars has different products and has variations to certain recipes they will have to have individual nutrion info for every store. On top of that there are franchise stores that aren't corporate and aren't regulated by our corporate office. Fact is if you are dieting you should know what's healthy. Obviously a pile ofchicken tenders fries and a loaded baked potato isn't healthy. Stick with the grilled chicken salad no pecans or the oriental salad no noodles.

GatorGrad85 said...

Better then that, I have work for that company for for a month. Needless to say I will advise you to be very aware of not only the nutrition facts, But how dirty and not up to code. They test nothing for temperature or dates. Sour food is no big deal after it has been fried. And the shame is the poor management team that has no respect for the servers that must run food,clean tables,floors and kitchen just then wait on you for $2.25 hour. Ask the manager to wait on your table and see your service...

Seneca said...

What Cheddars do you work at?

Jennifer said...

I work at a Cheddars in Kentucky and everything is made from scratch in the morning. Sure, there are plenty of unhealthy choices, but there are at any restaurant and we do have healthy alternatives such as grilled rather than fried chicken. There are no weird ingredients or anything in our food. I eat there often, which i wouldn't do if anything weird was going on in the kitchen.

Cindy LuHu said...

As an avid Weight Watchers member, who has lost 100 lbs. to date, I am very concerned about counting my points. I, too, got similar comments about not having nutritional information from Cheddars, when I had emailed them. I agree with others who say, they could at least provide it for their core menu items, which hasn't really appeared to change from what I'm seeing at ours in Hendersonville, TN.

I had heard that the government was attempting to make all restaurants post the information eventually. I'll be glad if/when that does happen.

I will say that we ate at The Chop House one night. They did have their nutritional info posted; however, the 2 items that I had ordered were not listed. I sent an email, & got a very personal response back from one of the chefs. As it turns out, the 2 items I ordered were new, & therefore the info was not available yet. Even though, he didn't have the nutritional info for the total completed items, as with others on their menu, he went above & beyond, & gave me the ingredients for both things, so I could figure the points that way if I wanted. Needless to say, I felt his customer service was outstanding, & it makes me want to frequent the restaurant when I'm able to do so financially.

I had a similar experience with Subway, on an item that was not on the menu because it was a limited time item; so, there are some restaurants out there, that are willing to work with their consumers, & for that I am grateful.

tigers said...

How about this idea. . . if you really want to eat "healthy" cook for yourself at HOME!! No restraunt food is going to come close to the quality of healthfulness of a home cook from scratch meal. It sounds like all of you are the ones being lazy about your weight loss goals. For me, if I am going out to eat then I automatically know that I am not eating healthy. If you limit your meals out to 1-2 times a month it isn't going to sabatoge your goals. I think it is time this country stop wanting others to "be responsible" for things that only the individual is truly in charge of!

Cindy said...

I disagree with the prior poster. I think by asking for the nutritional guide we ARE taking responsibility for ourselves. I DO think that there should be a requirment of nutritional facts to be available for all menu items. I am a bariatric patient and I am required to get 90 grams of protien every day. So I have to plan out what I eat. I am so limited in portion size... I need to know that the peice of grilled fish I ate is approximately 4 ounces... and what it was cooked in. This helps me know if I met my nutritional goals for the day.

We take responsibility on ourselves by not ordering chicken fingers and french fries. I personally work 10 hours a day with a 1 -2 hour commute each way depending on traffic. Cooking for myself and my husband is not always an option. Unless I cook all weekend... I could not possibly cook at home every night. And I am sorry. I work too long of hours to spend all weekend working too.

I dont think since each food item that we get in the store has to be labeled... it is too far of a stretch to ask that prepared foods have paperwork for nutrition as well ... available for request by the customer.

Seneca said...

Cindy, I agree with you as well, but knowing the size of fish and the caloric content, fat content, and sodium content are very different things. I Know the size of every portion of protein that passes through our restaraunt, and if you get a less knowledgable server, any manager on duty should definintely know

plainjane said...

I am very sad. My 11 year old was just diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Cheddars is her favorite. I just don't understand. Outback, Bob Evans, even Mcdonalds post nutritional information. In this day in age it is so important. Just do the main items that don't change. We won't be eating here anymore.
So Sad

kennyv said...

You have GOT to be NUTS...
Cheddars is a great place with very good people and a great menu... There are things that are good for you and things that are not! If you don't know the difference by now... you are not going to suddenly figure it out.
If you are not aware of the fat content of the food you are eating it is because you have not paid attention your entire life... Just because you can read the calories, fat, carbs, etc. will not help you if you have BAD eating habits.
Pay attention to what you are eating... and then you will not need to ask ridiculous questions.
Gee I wonder if deep fried twinkies are ok to eat?
Im a vegan I pay attention and I do not need a schedule to tip me off s to what I might be eating...

Melissa said...

If they have nothing to hide..it shouldnt be a problem. People have the right to know if they use whole milk, or skim...100% cheese or light...its just that simple

kennyv said...

There is no conspiracy to 'hide' something from you... Get real...
And if you ask, if something is skim or whole. I'm sure you will get an answer. Of course your attitude as you ask is going to weigh in to how anxious someone may be to find these 'hidden' secrets. I will continue going to this fine place, been there over 150 times and I LOVE the PLACE.

PS so do my friends.

Evescheerleader said...

Anyone who has ever actually looked at nutrition information for a resturant would know how stupid you people who say it isn't necessary are being.

The average resturant salad with chicken and no dressing can still top out at over 1000 calories. A bit of cheese, a handful of nuts, some cranberries or corn and black beans. It all adds up and how dare you say people don't have a right to know what they're eating just because they want to eat out.

You're probably the same rude people who teased overweight kids when you were in elementry school. You're not special or superior because you don't want nutrition information you're simply taking chances with your health that I won't.

I am a completely healthy person, I've never had a weight problem. I am now a registered dietician/nutritionist and I tell my clients not to eat anything they don't have information for first. Just because it's not fried doesn't make it healthy. You should know if that chicken topping your salad was grilled with butter or not because that 200 extra calories and 20 grames of fat DOES make a difference. Remove your heads from your bums!

Lana said...

I agree completely with the previous post! The phantom butter and/oil in grilled items can be a real problem for someone trying to lose weight!

fushia1983 said...

Wow, ridiculous people. Ya, it sucks that I can't find out how many calories were in the dijon mushroom chicken dish that I ate...but it was a crap ton of food so I asked for a box at the beginning of the meal to put half of it into so I wouldn't gain half a pound. Jesus, imagine if every poor mom and pop restaurant had to list nutrition information--not every dang place keeps the same menu all of the time...or have enough money to publish the information. Eat proper portions...your stomach should not be stuffed with more than could be squeezed into the space taken up by a fist. And as for the diabetic kid--helloooo stop feeding your poor kid crap--it's sad that you allowed them to eat poorly to the point where they landed type 2 diabetes. I agree with Michael--shame on you! Think more...bitch less :-)

sally said...

Heavens! In our country it seems everyone should be responsible for
my health and well being but me. Take chare of your life and eat what you know is good for you. If Cheddar's doesn't post nutritional information, then pressure them to do so with the most powerful statement you can make: stop eating there. Money talks in the restaurant business.

Pam said...

I find a restaurant with similar type of menu item and put that in my food log. I think that they should have the information available, but quite frankly, for the type of restaurant it is, I have never seen better service. Maybe they spend more time and money training their staff than worrying about intake. If you watch or read weight loss programs, they will tell you if you dont have the nutritional information, than portion and choose smartly.
Also, the information that is posted on any label is giving you the very least of the requirements that FDA imposes, so alot of it is a slightly educated guess.
The key is balance. If you eat out, then balance it elsewhere in your day.
I will also write to Cheddars, for those that want or need this information, but I am not going to boycott them for not having it.

Pam said...

http://www.cheddars.com/Nutritional%20Infomation/
link to what they are currently working on.

Kristal said...

This is... Stupid. I'm sorry, it's a RESTAURANT. You shouldn't be eating at it often enough to cause any sort of harm to your diet, and if you do eat out constantly, then you should know what type of foods to get already. I don't give a crud about nutritional value at a restaurant because I go there only occasionally as a treat, so I'm going to order whatever I want to. Why bother going to a restaurant if you're just going to get an overpriced salad or something? =.=

Kimber said...

I have to say, I love cheddars food and so do many others. I do agree that this information should be available, but at the same time its common sense. I waitress there and many people will come in claiming to be on a "diet" yet they order appetizers, fried foods with cheese, and burgers with fries, regardless of my suggestions. Its stupid and ignorant. Honestly, I love the grilled salmon as well as the talipia (fish=healthy), fresh veggies (especially the broccoli) and the salads are amazing. Burger king posts their unhealthy crap right on the wall where you order, some of their foods with more than 40 grams of fat and 1300 calories, yet they make billions of sales everyday. The nutritional imformation doesnt seem to be helping anyone, because those customers already know they are making a bad choice. Its common sense.

c300909c-0b3a-11e1-886a-000bcdca4d7a said...

They are not concerned about the fat or calories. It is the Sodium they do not want to talk about. Lemon Pepper Chicken might sound healthy until you find out it has more than two days worth of Sodium in it.

Darcy said...

Think about this: the only reason one wants the nutritional info is because they have allergies to the foods put into the products served at Cheddar's. Now imagine you are allergic to soy (which is in everything because it's a very inexpensive preservative) and you just want to go out to eat. You can't because restaurants refuse to provide their nutritional information. So are you required to cook for yourself every night because you are physically unable to consume soy products? Or what if you're allergic to wheat/gluten? People don't want the nutritional information because they are fat, or they are just watching their weight. It's a health hazard waiting to happen. It's a little boy going into anaphylactic shock because the restaurant declined to say that butter was on their steak and that their butter contains soy or lecithin. This is a serious problem.

Big Ed said...

I understand calories vary but they could post a range that gives you some idea of what it is in. I am afraid it is all so dang high if they did a lot of people would not eat there.

TheRealWisp said...

No disrespect but this IS RIDICULOUS!!! I do believe in having a healthy diet, I heard one person say 'if you're dieting choose heathier meals or places' which is definately true. If I want to lose weight I don't go to McDonald's order everything then complain when they cant tell me the calories (altho they can). I would make a healthier selection that I know is going to help reach my goal. Theres no sense in bringing other people down because they don't do what you want. I did find a few items off Cheddars menu with a calorie count so the info is out there, just gotta dig deep. There is no reason to be bickering like little children because a restaurant(1 single place) doesnt show calories. Find somewhere else, or cook. What you should coplain about is do servers wash their hands after handling money. Who knows where those one dollar bills been. Now its in YOUR WALLET like a capitol one commercial (some light humor)