As I am progressing through the restaurants for this guide, I am initially choosing those where I frequently eat. I started with Applebee’s, and continued with Ruby Tuesday. For this week’s installment I decided to check out Texas Roadhouse.
My family goes to this chain often. We enjoy the steaks, salads, and side dishes. The atmosphere is usually quite fun, and we always have a great time. It seemed a natural next place to do an analysis of, and to create a guide for Weight Watchers like me to help with making sound choices.
Imagine, then, my dismay when I could not find their nutrition guide on line. Instead I found this blurb:
Thank you for contacting us regarding our nutritional information. At this time, we offer calorie counts in the menu section of our website next to each menu item.
We can assure you that we are cognizant of the demand from guests such as yourself to provide more detailed nutritional information, but there are several factors that make this difficult.
Many of the large foodservice companies that offer specific nutritional information can do so because their food is pre-packaged and/or pre-portioned. Since we make our food from scratch — including the bacon bits, croutons, and dressings — it is next to impossible to provide exact nutritional information because of slight variations that depend upon whomever prepares the food.
We also make our bread from scratch each day and hand-cut our steaks, so again, we do not have the exact information printed, like some food service operators or what you may find in the grocery store.
We have attempted to provide some information in the past, but we pulled back after some guests complained we were not detailed enough. In addition, some enterprising folks tested the food, and when it fell outside the guidelines, they threatened legal action. As such, we stopped providing our special gluten-free menu, for example.
Sorry, but I think this is a cop out. Basically, they are saying “It’s too hard, but trust us, it’s all good.” I am sorry, but that just doesn’t cut it for me. While I can look up the points associated with various cuts of steak or pork, and try to estimate the values for their servings, I am left guessing when it comes to how things are prepared. What is in the broccoli? How is the rice prepared? What point values are there with the bread?
Their blurb makes it seem as though there could be great variability when dining in one Texas Roadhouse compared to another. But, my experience tells me that isn’t the case. I’ve eaten in 5 or 6 of their locations, and have found things like their side dishes, bread and appetizers to be remarkably similar. In fact, I would venture to guess that it is all identically the same from place to place.
Panera Bread (which I will analyze in a future post), bakes their bread fresh every day, at each location. Yet they are still able to provide detailed information on their food. Same for many other restaurants.
It really makes me wonder what they are hiding at Texas Roadhouse.
I tried the link they provided called “Recipes”, thinking I could glean their ingredient list. Nope.
On their menu they provide calories, but nothing else. With all the alleged variability in their cooking process, one is left to wonder what the value would be of these calorie counts.
So, where does this leave me? Since I started this journey toward better health, I have tried to become a more informed consumer of food. I realize that many, local restaurants don’t have the resources to provide detailed nutrition information for their menu, and I am willing to live with that limitation. But when it comes to a chain, like Texas Roadhouse, that excuse just doesn’t cut it for me.
I have decided that I am going to be avoiding Texas Roadhouse until they can get their act together to provide nutrition information that can help inform my choices while dining there. Perhaps you will want to do the same.
On their site it was hard to find a place to leave a comment, but I did find the email address for their Director of Public Relations. Here is the info:
Director of Public Relations
6040 Dutchman’s Lane
Louisville, KY 40205
When this post is published, I am going to be sending a link, along with an email about my displeasure at their lack of information. Honestly, I have no expectations that it will matter, but I will be letting them know that I am making a conscious, healthy choice to dine elsewhere until they publish their nutrition information.