Restaurant Owners’ Perspectives on a Voluntary Program to Recognize Restaurants for Offering Reduced-Size Portions, Los Angeles County, 2012
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Restaurant Owners’ Perspectives on a Voluntary Program to Recognize Restaurants for Offering Reduced-Size Portions, Los Angeles County, 2012

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    Introduction Reducing the portion size of food and beverages served at restaurants has emerged as a strategy for addressing the obesity epidemic; however, barriers and facilitators to achieving this goal are not well characterized. Methods In fall 2012, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health conducted semistructured interviews with restaurant owners to better understand contextual factors that may impede or facilitate participation in a voluntary program to recognize restaurants for offering reduced-size portions. Results Interviews were completed with 18 restaurant owners (representing nearly 350 restaurants). Analyses of qualitative data revealed 6 themes related to portion size: 1) perceived customer demand is central to menu planning; 2) multiple portion sizes are already being offered for at least some food items; 3) numerous logistical barriers exist for offering reduced-size portions; 4) restaurant owners have concerns about potential revenue losses from offering reduced-size portions; 5) healthful eating is the responsibility of the customer; and 6) a few owners want to be socially responsible industry leaders. Conclusion A program to recognize restaurants for offering reduced-size portions may be a feasible approach in Los Angeles County. These findings may have applications for jurisdictions interested in engaging restaurants as partners in reducing the obesity epidemic.
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