Our Kitchen Principles


We have a sincere passion at all levels of the company for great food. From the grill person to our managers all the way up to our CEO; it is our daily focus. It’s all about the food.

We follow these principles to assure the highest level of food quality for our guests:

We serve food that is…

Alive with flavor and nutrition

  • Menus are written based on seasonality and availability of regional fresh ingredients.
  • Whole foods are used as the foundation of a healthful diet. Meals center on abundant fresh produce, whole grains, and lean and/or plant-based proteins, prepared with minimal amounts of healthy, plant-derived fats.
  • Flavors are developed through skilled healthy cooking techniques, with the use of fresh herbs and authentic spices, not through unhealthy shortcuts of using fat, sugar, and salt.
  • Reasonable portion sizes are the rule, and healthy menu items are a mainstream offering throughout our cafés.
  • Vegetables are prepared in small batches as close to serving time as possible.
  • Vegetarian options are plentiful at every meal.
  • Ingredients containing artificial trans fats or MSG are not used in our kitchens.
  • Olive and canola oils are used for everyday salad dressings. Specialty oils (e.g., walnut oil or chili oil) are used for other purposes. Peanut oil is never used in the preparation of our food.

Prepared from scratch

  • Stocks, soups, salsas, and sauces are made from scratch.
  • All salad dressings are made from scratch. Lower calorie dressings may be purchased as necessary.
  • Turkey and beef are roasted in-house daily for deli meat.
  • Cookies and muffins are baked fresh daily. Breads are baked fresh daily where possible.

Sourced in a socially responsible manner

  • Fruits and vegetables are grown locally, using sustainable and organic practices, whenever possible.
  • Pork comes from hog farms that don’t confine sows to gestation crates for their entire pregnancies.
  • Turkey and chicken are produced without the routine, non-therapeutic use of antibiotics
  • Ground beef is from cattle raised on vegetarian feed and never given antibiotics or hormones. We use only solid muscle meat and fat. No neck is allowed.
  • Milk and yogurt are sourced from dairies not using artificial hormones.
  • Eggs are produced cage-free and certified by a credible animal welfare organization.
  • All seafood purchases, wild and farmed, follow the sustainability guidelines of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. Seafood should be purchased fresh when available locally or frozen at the source to ensure quality, and never air-freighted.


In addition to following our kitchen principles, our culinarians pay close attention to cooking in a naturally, healthful way. With your health in mind, we create meals centered on abundant fresh produce, whole grains, and lean and plant-based proteins, prepared with minimal amounts of healthy, plant-derived fats.
We focus specially on these areas:

Healthier Daily Choices in all Cafés:

It’s not hard to find a healthy choice in your café. Portions are reasonable and follow the US Dietary Guidelines and Myplate. At least one In-Balance entrée is served at lunch and dinner and a deep-color vegetable is served daily at full service stations. These are prepared using healthy cooking techniques (e.g. steamed, roasted, braised, grilled) and seasoned with minimal fat and salt. Fresh, seasonal fruits are always an option.

Complex Carbohydrate as a Standard Offering

Whole grains or legumes, prepared using healthy cooking techniques, are offered throughout the café at every meal. Each time you see white pasta, rice or bread, you will also see a whole-grain alternative.

Reduced Added Sugars

Guests always have options for low-sugar cereal, all fruit jam and unsweetened beverages. Baked goods and desserts are available in small portions to satisfy your sweet tooth without overindulgence.

Healthy Fats in Moderation

Chefs are trained to use healthy fats in moderation. Cooking oils are plant-based and low-fat dairy, condiments, and salad dressings are always available. Trans fats are not allowed in our cafés.

Encouraging Lean Protein and Plant-Based Proteins

Lean proteins such as fish and skinless poultry along with tofu, beans, and other meat substitutes prepared in unique and delicious ways are available at all meals.

Reduced Sodium

Our chefs are trained in food preparation techniques that maximize flavor without the use of unnecessary added sodium. Our house-made stocks for soups and sauces are always made without the use of added salt, and we never use MSG.

Professional Nutrition Support

General managers and chefs are certified in Bon Appétit’s nutrition training program and receive ongoing education in healthy cooking principles that deliver terrific flavor and nutrition. In addition, each café has a nutrition ambassador supported by a Registered Dietitian.