262303 Financial Analysis of Salud Tiene Sabor: The Economic Feasibility of Latino-Owned Restaurants Providing Healthy Menus and Nutritional Information for the Community

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mariah Lafleur, MPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Jerome Williams, PhD , Management and Global Business Department, Rutgers Business School - Newark and New Brunswick, Newark, NJ
Carmen R. Nevarez, MD, MPH , Public Heath Institute, Oakland, CA
Liz Schwarte, MPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Beth Weinstein-Rodin , Director of Economic Development, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, Los Angeles, CA
Sarah Samuels, DrPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Mercado La Paloma is a marketplace home to seven restaurants in South Los Angeles, a low-income, predominantly Latino neighborhood burdened by high obesity rates and minimal healthy eating options. Mercado restaurant owners, promotoras de salud, and the public health department came together in 2009 to make healthier eating options available through a culturally relevant menu redesign and labeling program called La Salud Tiene Sabor. The initial evaluation of Salud, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Salud America! research program, found these restaurants are improving the Latino community's nutrition environment and that restaurant owners and patrons embraced these changes. The financial study of Salud examined the economic feasibility of five Latino-owned Mercado restaurants providing healthier menus and nutritional information. The study team charted sales trends at the restaurants prior to and after implementation of Salud, and compared them to other restaurants in the community and larger area. Findings show all Latino-owned Mercado restaurants maintained their sales after implementation of Salud, and three restaurants showed an increasing trend in sales during and after implementation. Findings will also be presented comparing Mercado restaurants' sales trends to those of other area restaurants, some of which experienced declines during the economic downturn. The Salud financial findings demonstrate that restaurants can make nutritional information and healthy menus available to the Latino community while maintaining, or even building, their client base and resulting profits. Mercado restaurants improved the nutrition environment for Latinos and continue to be successful, even in a difficult economic climate.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the Salud Tiene Sabor program at Mercado la Paloma 2. Discuss successes achieved and challenges encountered by independent Latino restaurant owners when implementing a healthy menu/menu labeling program 3. Understand the financial outcomes on restaurants of implementing Salud Tiene Sabor

Keywords: Latino, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the project manager for multiple federal and foundation funded programs evaluating obesity prevention efforts, especially in children and low income populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.