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October 22, 2007

Daytime Café Removes all Artificial Trans Fats from Menu

BRADENTON, FLA. (October 22, 2007) – By November 5, First Watch Restaurants, the nation’s fastest-growing daytime-only cafe, will declare “mission completed” on an effort to eliminate all artificial trans fats from its menus. 

“We knew it wouldn’t be too difficult to fully transition First Watch’s menu to artificial trans fat free, as we have always focused on offering healthy fare that also tastes great,” said First Watch Executive Chef Kevin Hall.  “First Watch has never used fryers, and we only use the freshest ingredients available in our dishes.  We are very happy to now offer an additional healthful benefit to our guests by presenting an artificial trans fat free menu.” 

Researchers have established a link between artificial trans fats (also known as partially hydrogenated oils) with higher cholesterol, which can lead to a number of serious health problems. First Watch set out to be in the forefront among restaurants to eliminate artificial trans fats completely from menus and assure a continued emphasis on healthy offerings. 

According to nutrition expert Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, a physician and registered dietitian, artificial trans fats – which are created from modified vegetable oils and used to make food more stable – are unhealthy because they increase inflammation, which can be a starting point for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  Eliminating artificial trans fats can significantly reduce the risks and complications of certain diseases and also promote a healthy heart, according to Gerbstadt. 

In order to complete the transition, First Watch took a comprehensive look at its menu, identified items that contained artificial trans fats and also sought out new vendors for healthier ingredients and products.  For example, First Watch tested more than 10 healthy alternatives to margarine and successfully settled on a whipped-European blend, which combines the best aspects of margarine and butter, with none of the unhealthy artificial trans fats.  According to Hall, all of the menu items will maintain the great taste and consistency that First Watch customers have grown to love.

“First Watch has been one of the leading innovators in creating healthy choices for consumers, and the company’s move to remove all artificial trans fats is another huge step,” said Gerbstadt.  “First Watch already offers healthy side dishes, fresh fruit, vegetables and a full nutrient profile of menu items.” In addition to the menu modification, First Watch recently expanded its Web site to offer an a la carte nutrition guide for consumers to check the nutritional information for each menu item separately.  

First Watch specializes in daytime dining with unique breakfast, brunch and lunch creations freshly prepared to order.   The company recently introduced its new Sunrise Select Premium Blend™ coffee, a full-bodied specialty combination of Panamanian beans and 100% Colombian coffee, hand selected for its rich flavors and pleasant aromas.  Complimentary WiFi Internet access is also available at all First Watch restaurants. 

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