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Gluten-free menu items drive sales

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Forget carbs and cholesterol—“gluten” may be the dirtiest word among today’s health-conscious diners. Celiac disease affects only 1 percent of the population and another 6 percent suffer from gluten sensitivity, yet at least 30 percent of Americans are looking to reduce or eliminate gluten, notes the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

Restaurants cannot afford to ignore the groundswell—gluten-free menu item claims increased 275 percent from 2009 to 2012, reports Mintel Menu Insights. By offering flavorful and varied gluten-free options that fit in naturally with the rest of their menus, operators can accommodate customers with different dietary preferences while driving sales at the same time.

Here’s a look at the ways operators are incorporating gluten-free options into their menus today.

Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchen
Sedona, Ariz.-based; 5 locations
Italian Olive Oil Cake: Fresh citrus, Queen Creek olive oil, gluten-free flour, organic sugar, organic eggs, topped with orange marmalade and fresh rosemary; $5

Grease Box
Oakland, Calif.
Cobb Salad: Gluten-free fried chicken, bacon, housemade ranch, egg; $12

Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse
Boston, Mass.-based; 7 locations
Gluten-Free Hand Rolled Potato Gnocchi: Wild mushrooms, truffle oil; $26

Lexington Brass
New York City
Pumpkin Spice Gluten-Free Waffles: Bruleéd bananas; $16

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant
Orland Park, Ill.-based; 14 locations
Dana’s Parmesan Crusted Chicken: Garlic green beans, tomato basil relish, lemon butter, Mary’s potatoes; $17

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