Saturday, August 18, 2007

Applebee's and Weight Watchers Core Plan

Weight Watchers members have known for a while that the chain restaurant Applebee's has a special Weight Watchers section of their menu, with POINTS values listed for each item. It's a nice marketing move and very helpful for those on the Weight Watchers Flex plan.

However, for Core plan followers, it's just another restaurant menu. After a recent visit, I decided to email Weight Watchers and ask them if any of the menu items at Applebee's are included on the Core Plan. I received the following response:

Dear [Skinny Guy],

Thank you for contacting us with your inquiry. Along with the delicious selections that Applebee's has created for Weight Watchers® members on the Flex Plan, tasty options are also available for members following the Core Plan. These dishes are very similar to the Weight Watchers menu items that are offered on the Applebee's menu, but have been adapted to fit into the Core Plan. The best news of all is that these items all have the same great flavor that you have experienced with any of the great meals at Applebee's. Please note, however, that these items are not listed on the menu, so you will need to ask your server specifically about 'Weight Watchers Core Food Plan options' to order these dishes. Available Weight Watchers menu item adaptations for the Core Plan are:

Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa: This seasoned grilled fish is topped with mango salsa and served with a double portion of seasonal vegetables.

Grilled Shrimp Skewer Salad: Tender marinated shrimp skewers are served on a bed of fresh mixed greens with a tasteful assortment of sugar snap peas, tomatoes, and red onions. Served with a side of fat-free Italian dressing.

Mesquite Chicken Salad: A grilled mesquite-seasoned chicken breast is tossed with mixed greens, tomatoes, corn, black beans, jalapeno peppers, and red onions. Served with a side of fat-free ranch dressing.

Teriyaki Shrimp Skewers: Tasty teriyaki-seasoned shrimp skewers are grilled and served with a double portion of seasonal vegetables.

These items provide even more alternatives for Weight Watchers members and certainly reinforce Applebee's support of a healthy lifestyle and the Weight Watchers community. Enjoy!

Customer Service Associate
Weight Watchers International, Inc.
I suppose I should be glad that they're making an effort, but it just seems like another hoop to jump through. Now, instead of just being able to order from a small special section of the menu, I have to ask to order off the menu from an even smaller subset of meals.

I don't know why this rubs me the wrong way. After all, it's just another cookie cutter national restaurant chain. I don't really expect a fine dining experience when I go there, especially since my last visit there was less than optimal.

Perhaps I'm just looking for something that doesn't exist - a local restaurant with plenty of healthy food choices prepared without extra fat- and calorie-laden sauces and side dishes. Is it asking too much to sit down and order a meal without sounding like Sally Albright in When Harry Met Sally?

Until I find this mythical place, the next time I find myself at Applebee's I will attempt to order from this hidden Core menu and see what happens. I promise to share the results here. Stay tuned!


Jake Silver said...

But at least Applebee's HAS the nutritionals on the menu! What about the places where there is NOTHING reasonable?

Skinny Guy said...

Actually, Applebee's only has the WW Points listed for some items on the menu. No nutritional information for anything else is listed. So it is better than nothing, but it could be better.

The fast food chains actually do a whole lot better than the chain sit down restaurants when it comes to making the NI available to their customers. And you are right on the money about the places that have nothing reasonable!

Kathy said...

One of my biggest problems is ordering it correctly and then being presented food that is not even close to what I requested. Then you have to either send it back and wait while everyone else is eating or try to just deal with it.

skinnybitch said...

Hi Skinny Guy,

I just stumbled on your blog (via Jake's blog) and read all your old posts. Congratulations on the weight loss! I lost 50 pounds last year (a modest loss compared to what you've accomplished!) and I'm now working to maintain my healthy weight. I think you're right - this is the hard part.

As for the topic of this post, I think it's just hard to eat out in general. If more customers write letters like the one you wrote to Applebee's, maybe things will change.

Keep fighting the good fight. I'll be reading.


Skinny Guy said...

Hi, Robin, thanks for stopping by! Please don't minimize your loss of 50 pounds - that's quite an accomplishment.

Anonymous said...

I am a WW leader and have been told that the new Steak and Portabello is core without having to make substitutions. I hope this helps. Good luck in your journey and congratulations on your success!