WASHINGTON D.C. — The National Restaurant Association and the California-based Healthy Dining Program are launching a groundbreaking Web site designed to help Americans easily identify smart choices on restaurant menus.

According to a news release, the site, which will launch on Aug. 28, was developed with partial funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and represents a collaborative effort by the restaurant industry to support public health.

"We applaud the restaurants that are taking the lead in this initiative and look forward to having more restaurants join this important program," says Steven C. Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the National Restaurant Association. "Our research shows that nearly three out of four Americans say they are trying to eat more healthfully in restaurants than they did two years ago. The HealthyDiningFinder.com Web site is a great resource for those looking to make smart choices when dining at their favorite restaurant." (Read also Wide 'Web' of offerings displayed at NRA show.)

This free resource will enable consumers to search for participating restaurants based on location, type of cuisine, price range, takeout availability and other criteria. Detailed nutrition information (calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein, carbohydrates, fiber and fruit/vegetable servings) is provided for each menu item featured.

"The Web site offers tremendous advantages to restaurants," says Erica Bohm, M.S., vice president of Healthy Dining. "In an increasingly competitive market, the Healthy Dining Program provides restaurants with unparalleled opportunities to attract new customers, enhance customer loyalty and position themselves as innovative industry leaders with a competitive edge."

A unique aspect of the multifaceted Healthy Dining Program is the ongoing marketing campaign that leverages the support of thousands of health professionals, fitness leaders, employers and others to promote the site and participating restaurants. Another aspect of this program is search engine optimization strategies, which will target the 16 million health/diet-related Internet searches that occur each month. Another component is a high-profile consumer media campaign.

"Participating restaurants will receive tremendous positive publicity through HealthyDiningFinder.com's marketing campaign," Bohm said. "It's a win-win all the way around."

Every type of restaurant from quick service to fine dining, from independents to the nation's largest chains is encouraged to enroll in the program. Early participants include Arby's, P.F. Chang's, Buca di Beppo, Cracker Barrel, Round Table Pizza, El Pollo Loco and Famous Dave's.

For a preview of the site, please call 800-953-3463 or e-mail erica@HealthyDiningFinder.com. Demos of the site are available at healthydiningfinder.com/demo.

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