Burgerville Receipts Provide Order's Nutrition Info

Burgerville is taking nutrition transparency to a level well beyond just providing calorie counts on menus. It is providing every customer with a personalized receipt showing detailed nutritional breakouts for the specific items that they just purchased.

The QSR chain, which focuses on fresh, local, seasonal menu offerings, pilot-tested the receipts in one Portland, Ore. restaurant for six months last year, and as of this week has rolled them out to all 39 of its locations in Oregon and southwestern Washington.

The receipts not only show the calories and grams of fat, protein and carbohydrates for each item purchased, but breakouts of the percentages of the recommended daily values for calories, fat etc., that each item represents, based on both a 2,000-calorie- and a 2,500-calorie-per-day basis.

In addition, they offer healthy hints, such as alternate menu selections with lower calories or fat, or ways to reduce these on favorite menu items, on a customer's next visit. ("If you are trying to eat healthier, try 'holding the chipotle mayo' on your sandwich and save 180 calories and 18g of fat.")



The receipts -- which also include transaction-based, targeted promotional messages and coupons -- are generated through a solution from Santa Barbara, Calif.-based SmartReceipt, Inc. called Nutricate. Burgerville is the first fast-food chain to implement Nutricate, which became available in 2004 and is already in use at numerous hospital and company cafeterias.

"We want our guests to know exactly what they are getting when they order from us" and how their selections fit into their overall eating habits/nutritional profiles, explained Jeff Harvey, president/CEO of the nearly 50-year-old restaurant chain. "That way, guests can take control of their food choices and make sure that they feel satisfied and empowered when they eat at Burgerville."

Burgerville set two main objectives for the receipt pilot, according to the company: To communicate nutrition information to customers in a meaningful, useful format that ultimately improves customer satisfaction and loyalty, and to generate measurable ROI through the receipts' coupons and promotions.

The rollout decision was based on clear success in meeting both goals, as measured by in-store customer surveys, sales and menu mix analysis, coupon redemptions and positive publicity.

In addition to offering coupons and promoting limited-time offers and seasonal menu items, Burgerville is using the receipts to garner customer feedback by providing a link to an online guest survey, and to convey messages about the chain's sustainable practices. (SmartReceipt's practice of planting two trees for every tree used for its receipts, via The Nature Conservancy's Plant a Billion Trees program, complements Burgerville's sustainability efforts.)

Burgerville receipt

The chain is getting the word out about the receipts by making Nutricate brochures available in its restaurants, having employees point out the nutrition info to all guests as they receive their receipts, and promoting the new service on its Facebook page (nearly 20,000 fans) and through its Twitter account.

The innovation has generated primarily positive coverage from general and consumer-issues/health-oriented media, as well as blogs and social media channels (one blogger credited Burgerville for having given him "the coolest receipt ever").

But do some customers, even in today's more health-conscious environment, feel that they're getting more information than they really want?

"Most all of the feedback was positive, and no guests were shocked by the info," Harvey told Fast Company. Harvey has also indicated that the helpful hints for lower-calorie/fat alternatives on the receipts serve to allay any potential consumer concerns based on seeing the read-outs.

In addition to the receipts, Burgerville offers menu nutrition information to diners via brochures in its restaurants and on the back of its tray liners.

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