Macaroni Grill's Prosciutto Sandwich. Photo: Business Wire.
Macaroni Grill wants to entice the Ladies Who Lunch with their new health-conscious offerings.
The Italian-food chain is one of many quick-service restaurants to face a decline in sales in the aftermath of caloric-disclosure laws and unwelcome press about its belly-ballooning meals.
As a result, the chain is rolling out an entirely revamped 60-item menu -- refocusing on Italian-Mediterranean flavors and more healthful choices. The new midday offerings are the latest phase in the menu overhaul.
The menu-makeover, which started in September 2009, is expected to be completed in May 2010.
"Our guests have told us that our previous lunch offering was time consuming, heavy and expensive," said Brad Blum, chief executive of Romano's Macaroni Grill, in a release.
Grilled chicken and jumbo shrimp spiedini, pasta e fagioli soup and a prosciutto sandwich on toasted focaccia are among the 13 new menu items -- with about half coming in under 450 calories.
Golden Gate Capital purchased Macaroni Grill in 2008 from Brinker International, a restaurant company which owns Chili's Bar & Grill, Maggiano's Little Italy and On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina.
Whether or not Macaroni Grill's new offerings will convert the loyal legions of Olive Garden's Soup, Salad and Breadsticks remains to be seen . . .
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