Slideshow: New menu items from Red Robin, TGI Fridays, Sonic

by Rebekah Schouten
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KANSAS CITY — Eating healthier is the No. 1 New Year’s resolution in the United States. In fact, 37% of Americans say they plan to hold to a more nutritious diet in 2018, according to a poll by YouGov. In the wake of consumers’ renewed interest in healthier eats, restaurants are offering new better-for-you menu items to rake in the resolutioners’ dollars.

For those avoiding animal protein in the new year, Red Robin is debuting the Gourmet Veggie Burger. The beef-free burger features a custom-blended ancient grain and quinoa veggie patty piled with Swiss cheese, Parmesan-sprinkled mushrooms, tomato bruschetta salsa, avocado slices, sun-dried tomato spread and shredded romaine on a whole grain bun.

Dana Benfield, Red Robin
Dana Benfield, senior vice-president and c.m.o. at Red Robin

“The new year often calls for changes and resolutions, and at Red Robin, we’re no different,” said Dana Benfield, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer at Red Robin. “Whether you’re seeking to eat healthy, try new things or stick to a budget, our new and improved Gourmet Veggie Burger and featured menu items offer a delicious and craveable way for guests to stay on track with their resolutions.”

Plant-based protein is also the star of TGI Fridays’ new vegetarian burger, featuring Beyond Meat’s soy- and gluten-free plant-based Beyond Burger. The patty looks, cooks and tastes like ground beef, with more protein and iron and less saturated fat than beef, according to the company. TGI Fridays’ new Beyond Meat Burger features a seasoned and grilled 6-oz Beyond Burger patty topped with white cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles and Fridays sauce.

David Spirito, TGI Fridays
David Spirito, executive culinary director of TGI Fridays

“Appealing to a more food-forward consumer is a key priority for Fridays in 2018,” said David Spirito, executive culinary director of TGI Fridays. “In answering guests demand for nutritional menu items that fit their lifestyle needs, we saw an opportunity to introduce newly expanded options like plant-based protein. Beyond Meat is leading the way in creating a juicy and delicious product that gives guests the sensory experience of a traditional burger without sacrificing taste.”

For consumers cutting calories, Sonic is serving a new line of low-calorie, better-for-you beverages. New Sonic Fruit Fizz is a lightly sweetened sparkling water made with real fruit and no artificial flavors. The strawberry peach variety contains 60 calories while the strawberry peach and mango lime flavors contain less than 5 calories.

Scott Uehlein, Sonic
Scott Uehlein, vice-president of product innovation and development for Sonic

“Sonic’s Fruit Fizz is a flavorful sparkling water, which capitalizes on the booming sparkling water trend,” said Scott Uehlein, vice-president of product innovation and development for Sonic. “Whether it is a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime or real strawberry, this refreshing sparkling water gives you a guilt-free beverage while keeping flavor front and center.”

For those cutting down on carbs, Pie Five Pizza is serving new Cauliflower Crust Pizza. The gluten-free pizza base contains 40 net carbs, which is less than half the net carbs in any other Pie Five crust, the company said.

Christina Coy, Pie Five Pizza
Christina Coy, vice-president of marketing for Pie Five

“Cauliflower is exploding in popularity due to its taste and amazing health benefits,” said Christina Coy, vice-president of marketing for Pie Five. “We were inspired to incorporate this versatile veggie to create a healthier crust that is still super delicious. Now, with the debut of our cauliflower crust, health conscious guests don’t have to cut pizza out of their diet.”

Click to view a slideshow of new menu items.
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