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Sep 10, 2011 03:41 PM

The 99 Restaurant & The Practice of Hiding Nutritional Info in Restaurants

I just posted some of this on another thread (about Panera), but I think it deserves a thread of it's own. Recently I've become more health-aware, since it was and is either get control of my weight or I won't be around long to enjoy food much longer. So I'm reading the nutritional info that is available on restaurant sites - this is usually only available on chains (and while I love being able to see the fat, calorie, sodium content of my food, I would never expect small restaurants to provide this, as it would be cost prohibitive).

A friend of mine used to work at the 99, a local chain (I believe it's New England based - but I could be wrong), so we looked up the nutritional content of the foods she was serving. It wasn't easy to find it - if you want to see it for yourself, go to the 99 Restaurant website, click on 'menu,' then when you scroll down the left column, you'll see some small print pdf files. "Nutritional/Allergen Info" is what you want.

We were shocked - I thought I'd share this info with fellow Chowhounds, so here's some of the things we found:

Chicken Broccoli & Ziti dinner - 1920 cal, 103 grams of fat and 3140 mg of sodium
Captain's Combo Platter w/Seafood Chowder - 20901 cal, 144 gr of fat, and 4230 mg of sodium!!!
How about something "healthy," such as a salad (or as they call it, "Fresh From the Garden"):
FIre Grilled Southwest Cobb Salad: 920 cal, 57 g fat & 2200 mg sodium

Feel like having a sandwich?:
Grilled Chicken Panini: 1540 cal, 96 g fat & 2760 mg sodium

And then they have what they call the Crowd Pleasers. These serve, according to their website, 6 - 8 people. Let's see...
The Power Lunch Crowd Pleaser:
it has 11580 cal, 643 g fat and 23490 mg sodium
If this serves 6 people, that means everyone gets 1930 cal, 107 g fat and 3882 mg sodium!!
(I'd say order this if you want to knock off your boss...)

My opinion is something along the line of, well, I'd like to tar & feather the people who created this menu - they certainly aren't putting this info out, in an easy to access place (like - on the menu, next to the items, maybe?)

On the other hand, I don't want to make life harder for the small business person - it's tough enough running a small business today, I think.

Anyway, here's the link to where you can read it for yourself, if you'd like:

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  1. Mixed feelings. On the one hand, I get frustrated when I can't find info. On the other, most of us here know a few things about food and can tell what's heavy and what's not visually. Something like a cobb salad probably has bacon and cheese - It's not a shocker that it's high in calories.

    Then there's the other half of the equation - Exercise. I currently weigh around 140 and I consume over 3,000 calories a day. To me, something like THE POWER LUNCH is intriguing more than anything else. (Probably not worth it)

    4 Replies
    1. re: ediblover

      To me, I hate wasted calories. With my current physical condition (I'm working to change that), I can't eat that much. Of course, I don't eat at this restaurant - and I try not to eat at ANY chain. Only because I live in an area with a great supply of independent restaurants and small eating places, can I be so selective, of course.

      Even if one can eat that much - the sodium level is through the roof! Hypertension doesn't have to go hand in hand with being overweight, too.

      But I disagree with you on one thing - I don't think *everyone* can tell what is high in calories, and fat.

      1. re: threedogs

        Not everyone, of course. But, it's a safe guess that most people here on chowhound can. Some things are difficult. Sauces and soups come to mind, since the amount of cream can vary so much and you just can't quite tell until it hits your tongue.

        By the way, why is it the franchise called "99?" I'd guess it's their "99 reasons" but that seems far too contrived.

        1. re: ediblover

          I'll agree with you that most of us who are chowhounds have the sense to figure out what food is dreadful (nutrition-wise) - and one has to be careful when ordering sauces & soups. For safety, in the beginning of my weight loss attempt I just kept away from all restaurants, not wanting to sabotage my loss. Now, I'm giving myself an occasional treat - but I won't waste calories in a place like this!

          I have no idea why it's called the 99. It's been around so long, I never questioned it, lol.

          1. re: ediblover

            Not necessarily...I was shocked to find at Popeye's that the red beans and rice has almost twice the fat and calories as the cajun rice, 180 and 7g vs 340 and 19g!