Thin is in—even at the Cheesecake Factory.
Hoping to add dieters to its devoted clientele, the restaurant notorious for its 2,730-calorie Bistro Shrimp Pasta is adding nearly 50 low-calorie options to its menu. The “SkinnyLicious” range, which rolls out at restaurants from August 9, includes 15 entrees under 590 calories, 12 appetizers under 490 calories, and five “Skinny Cocktails” under 150. Diners can add low-fat cheese to new dishes like the SkinnyLicious Hamburger and the Mexican Tuscan Salad, and chefs will prepare the chicken salad sandwich with low-fat mayo rather than the fattier (and, well, tastier) alternative.
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“It used to be the only way you’d get out of Cheesecake Factory eating fewer than 600 calories was if somebody pulled the fire alarm,” David Zinczenko, co-author of Eat This, Not That, told USA Today. “It’s really a smart business decision.” It also follows in the footsteps of McDonald’s, which has pushed salads and fruit in recent years, and Starbucks, which recently launched a range of snacks called Petites that contain less than 200 calories.
For dieters, however, the Cheesecake Factory’s proposition may prove to be the equivalent of inviting a recovering alcoholic to a wine bar and expecting him to order sparkling water. The normal menu still contains tempting treats like the White Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Cheesecake (1220 calories, 42 grams of saturated fat).