The restaurants also wanted a say about their foods:
Cold Stone Creamery said it "provides super-premium ice cream to guests looking to indulge and enjoy the Ultimate Ice Cream Experience. We offer all of our shakes in three sizes, so the largest size of the PB&C shake equates to a high calorie dessert. For consumers that would like a sweet treat with less calories, we have several options such as our Sinless Ice Cream and Non-Dairy Sorbet, and now nationwide all stores will carry at least one flavor of low-fat frozen yogurt that starts at 34 calories an ounce. We strive to provide options for customers that are looking for an indulgent treat that they can enjoy in the moderation that suits their lifestyle."
Patrick Lenow, spokesman for IHOP said, "Consumers value choice and are increasingly equipped with the information and knowledge they need to make appropriate choices for themselves. With more than 30 menu items under 600 calories, along with more indulgent choices, we offer the great tasting foods guests seek while being responsive to their individual dietary needs."
Applebee's, which has been the only restaurant chain to feature Weight Watchers endorsed menu selections, also went on the defensive.
"Applebee's guests want a variety of options, and with access to nutritional information online and in the restaurant, they can make the most appropriate choices for themselves," Nancy Mays, spokesperson for Applebee's, said. "We offer a lot of great-tasting dishes, including six Unbelievably Great Tasting and Under 550 Calories selections and five Weight Watchers-endorsed entrees."
The company also said its "Unbelievably Great Tasting and Under 550 Calorie" menu, launched in January 2010, has been its best-selling menu for two months this year.
John Dillon, vice president of marketing with Denny's, said the restaurants offer a "wide variety of menu items that meet the broad range of preferences and cravings of our guests, including a full complement of healthy, low calorie meals."
"In fact, we recently launched a new "Fit Fare" menu that includes four different types of lighter options, including Fit Fare Light for less than 550 calories, Fit Fare Lean for under 15g of fat, Fit Fare Protein for over 20 grams of protein and Fit Fare Fiber which contains over 8 grams of fiber," Dillon said in a statement. "Our guests want variety and our menu provides that to them."