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Restaurant uses contest to promote healthy options

Honey Tree Manager Dave Krause poses with one of the restaurant’s new, healthier dining options. Photo by Andrew Moser. (click for larger version)
November 10, 2010 - McDonald's combines the excitement of Monopoly with the chance to win food and numerous cash prizes when it rolls out its pull tab game every year.

Now The Honey Tree Grille and Coney, located at 978 N. Lapeer Rd in Oxford, is looking to replicate McDonald's classic game.

The Honey Tree has teamed up with Coca-Cola and introduced their version of the classic pull tab game, which will feature food prizes for their revamped, healthy menu.

"We have the opportunity to offer a better product that is healither," said Honey Tree Manager Dave Krause.

"You hear about national chain resturants and full-service dining resturants that have salads with more calories and fat then a fried burger," Krause said. "Why would you offer your community a product that is supposed to be healthy, but you are better off getting a fried burger."

Starting this week, faculty members and students at Lake Orion High School (LOHS) will have the chance to play when they purchase either a Diet Coke, Coke Zero or bottled water from vending machines in and around LOHS.

Winners of the pull tab game will receive a coupon for a either free salad, deli sandwhich or soup. "They get a chance, compliments us of us, to get something that is healither than going to the local fast food diner," he added.

He gives credit to his wife for coming up with the idea to give away healthier options.

So they sat down together to hash the idea out. When it was complete, he approached his Coca-Cola sales representative.

After speaking with the Coke sales representitive, who also thought is was a good idea, they contacted LOHS and got the ball rolling.

"This is something we figured that we can spread and we were talking to Coke and they have two great products, Coke Zero and Diet Coke, along with their bottled water, and we asked what we could do with them and they said we could try this," he explained.

He added that with all of the talk about childhood obesity, he felt like he needed to do something about it.

"Most parents who have their kids in school realize that drinking pop and eating fast food is not the best choice, but they do it because it is cheap and convenient," he said.

Krause said the idea to redo the menu is about common sense.

"It's a matter of good conscience. You want a good salad, (so) you should get a salad that has less calories than something that is fried," he added.

According to Krause, Honey Tree has switched to all non-fat dressings and has reduced the sodium content in all of their products. They have also taken out all of the transfat in their food and salads and have switched to a wheat crepe for all of their wraps.

Krause added that they use Dearborn meats and hot-dogs for all of their cooking.

"Enough with the old conformity of throw the lowest quality product with the highest fat content at the cheapest price...there is a better way to do things; a more responsible way to do things," he said.

He indicated customers have responded to the menu changes.

"We have had great response...the guests can't even tell all their dressings are low fat," Krause said.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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