Long John Silver's pitches switch to healthier menu

Long John Silver's is including nutrition bloggers in its media relations strategy after its announcement last week that it will completely eliminate trans fats from its menu.

LOUISVILLE, KY: Long John Silver's is including nutrition bloggers in its media relations strategy after its announcement last week that it will completely eliminate trans fats from its menu.

Louisville, KY-based firm RunSwitch Public Relations is supporting the brand with the initiative.

Last July, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition and health policy watchdog group, rated the restaurant's 1,320-calorie Big Catch dish the “worst restaurant meal in America.”

The following month, the chain switched all US restaurants to trans-fat-free cooking oil.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest issued a statement last week saying it supports the changes to the Long John Silver's menu. It said the Food and Drug Administration can now note how much time it should take food manufacturers and restaurants to phase out trans fats.

RunSwitch's external communications strategy involves media relations, social media, and working with bloggers. The company's most recent announcement has particularly appealed to nutrition bloggers, said Gary Gerdemann, founding partner at RunSwitch. The firm is also planning to use video as a part of its communications strategy, but it did not give further details.

“Long John Silver's has been working inside and outside the restaurant to update the menu and marketing messages and bring everything around to appeal to more consumers,” said Gerdemann. “We were brought on to help communicate that message farther and wider.”

RunSwitch PR started working with the restaurant chain in May 2013. Long John Silver's handles internal communications on its own, but a company representative did not disclose how the chain is communicating with employees about the changes.

In 2011, Yum! Brands sold Long John Silver's restaurants to investor group LJS Partners because the chain no longer fit its long-term growth strategy for international expansion. Since then, the chain has worked hard to revitalize its brand, according to Gerdemann.

“Fish is one of the better proteins for consumers to eat, and Long John Silver's should be at the vanguard of that,” he explained.  

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