Boston Market removes salt from tables to help customers cut back

A sign explaining the absence of salt shakers is posted on a table inside a Boston Market restaurant.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Diners at Boston Market will have to taste their food before pouring on the salt after the restaurant chain decided to take shakers off tables and put them out of reach at the condiment station.

Some may call it nanny dining, but it’s the latest in a series of moves by the restaurant industry to cut back on sodium levels to promote healthier eating.

Last fall, Olive Garden and Red Lobster parent Darden Restaurants promised to cut sodium in all its restaurants. As of last summer, Carl’s Jr. had reduced the sodium in its hamburger buns 20%. El Torito and Taco Bell have also reduced sodium use.

Still, according to research group Technomic last year, salt’s presence on menus has boomed 144% in five years.


Americans adults shouldn’t consume more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, according to current dietary guidelines. A single McDonald’s Big Mac has 1,000 milligrams. An original recipe KFC chicken breast has 1,080 milligrams.

At Boston Market’s 476 locations, salt shakers will be removed from tables immediately, the company said. The chain also plans to cut the amount of sodium in its menu items by at least 15% by the end of 2014.

And for signature items such as mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and rotisserie chicken -- of which Boston Market sells 48 million servings a year -- a 20% cut in sodium will be implemented over the next six months.



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