A Manchester restaurant has been praised for their response after a customer requested a menu that didn’t list calories.
Earlier this month, calorie counts on menus and food labels were made mandatory at large businesses with more than 250 employees. The Government-backed move was implemented in a bid to improve the nation’s health.
Sophie Bartlett, a teacher from Gloucestershire, was dining at Indian restaurant Dishoom on Bridge Street in Spinningfields on Saturday morning (April 16) with a friend when she asked her server if they could receive a menu that didn’t list the calorie counts of each meal.
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Following her request, Sophie said her server, named Georgia, returned to their table with a menu where all the calories had been scribbled out. “I don’t have an eating disorder myself but I have many close family and friends that do,” Sophie told the MEN “I know how they would feel about it so wanted to ask on their behalf as I know some would never ask themselves .”
Sophie took to Twitter to share the encounter, captioning the post: “Massive kudos to @Dishoom Manchester – I asked for a menu without calories but they didn’t have one so one of the staff (Georgia) took a menu and scribbled out all the calories for me.”
In response, the restaurant added: “Hi Sophie, I’m glad to hear our Manchester team was able to help. We will be having an option of a calorie free menu, if requested, very soon in all our cafes.”
Sophie’s tweet has since received over 16,000 likes and been retweeted more than 600 times. Replying to the post, one person wrote: “This is so wholesome”. Another said: “yes to this service commitment”.
Another added: “Love this! Adding calories to menus can be so damaging to so many people for various reasons. Having the option to not see these would be a much better balance!” A further Tweeter posted: “Calorie free menus should be available in every restaurant. A lot of people worry about calories and can get overly obsessed, causing eating disorders which cause physical health problems. It’s lovely that this place did this for a customer and shows excellent customer service.”
Sophie, 29, said she felt the government’s decision to make calorie counts mandatory on menus was a ‘lazy’ solution to tackling the nation’s health. She explained: “I know some restaurants have calorie-free menus available upon request already. I visited three over the weekend and the servers at each of them said they disagreed with the policy restaurants – one of the servers even offered to handwrite out the entire menu for me.
“I think this is a lazy, cheap and easy solution to the ‘obesity problem’ that has allegedly cropped up since Covid. This has been done in the US and hasn’t worked. There is also SO much more to nutrition than calorie intake .
“I fear it will create such a negative relationship with food with people – particularly women. I think there should at least be the option of a calorie-free menu – and to have it offered, not just upon request.”
Public Health Minister Maggie Throup defended the legislation, which forms part of the government’s strategy to tackle obesity, by saying it was being introduced as a ‘building block’ for people to make healthier food choices.
Mrs Throup said: “It is crucial that we all have access to the information we need to maintain a healthier weight, and this starts with knowing how calorific our food is. We are used to knowing this when we are shopping in the supermarket, but this isn’t the case when we eat out or get a takeaway.
“As part of our efforts to tackle disparities and level up the nation’s health, these measures are an important building block to making it as easy as possible for people to make healthier food choices.”
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