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DineEquity Offers Healthier Options

Zacks Equity Research

Of late, U.S. eateries are serving a healthy menu, to cater to consumer preference for fresh, organic, nutritious and low-calorie food. Rising health concerns and increasing awareness about obesity and related diseases have led to the shift in consumer’s preference toward healthy and “good for you” products.

Glendale, CA-based restaurateur DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE:DIN) is also following the same trend. Recently, the company’s subsidiary Applebee’s refreshed its kids menu options to provide more nutritional products. In this regard, Applebee’s has added 26 healthy food items including entrees, sides, beverages and meals for children.

Currently, 650 options are available in Applebee’s’ kids menu. Ten of Applebee’s’ meal options conform to the National Restaurant Association’s (“NRA”) Kids LiveWell nutrition standard.

Applebee’s has already tested these items in all of its restaurants which resulted in a significant drop in the ordering of french fries. Therefore, the introduction of these low-calorie food items is expected to gain huge popularity, going forward.

Applebee’s is consistently trying to expand its platter of low-calorie foods. Since 2008, the company has been providing Unbelievably Great Tasting & Under 550 Calories foods.

Per the NRA, the restaurateurs are now focusing more on providing healthy foods to children. We believe these new items will encourage kids to have healthier foods rather than processed ones.

The world’s No. 2 hamburger chain, Burger King Worldwide (NYSE:BKW), is also trying to expand its platter of low-calorie foods. In this regard, in late Sep 2013, the restaurateur introduced a new crinkle-cut french fry, Satisfries, which contain 20% less calories than the regular kind.

DineEquity holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Investors interested in the restaurant industry may consider stocks like Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASD:FRGI) and The Cheesecake Factory Inc. (NASD:CAKE). While Fiesta Restaurant sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), The Cheesecake Factory has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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