May 05, 2010 // Franchising.com // Boston, MA - UNO® will host a national Dough Rai$er from May 24th through the 30th to benefit the American Celiac Disease Alliance (www.americanceliac.org) in support of National Celiac Awareness Month in May.
"Getting families to eat out during May, and supporting establishments which are serving their needs is a major goal for us," said Andrea Levario, executive director, American Celiac Disease Alliance. Levario noted that last year's Dough Rai$er was not only a fundraising benefit to the organization, but gave those who have celiac disease an opportunity to enjoy dining out.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley.
Consumers interested in participating in the May Dough Rai$er can secure a voucher at www.unos.com/ACDA, which they can then bring to their local UNO location. Twenty percent of sales generated from those who participate will support the ACDA cause.
"UNO is proud to support the ACDA with our hugely popular Dough Rai$er program," said CEO Frank Guidara. "We care about the wellbeing of our customers and the communities we serve. To date, we've donated more than $3.4 million to deserving organizations!"
The company's gluten-free menu was launched in 2006 and has over 30 items ranging from entrées, salads, sides, beverages and desserts. Choices include Baked Stuffed Chicken - with broccoli, spinach, tomatoes and cheese, lemon basil salmon and Certified Angus Beef® steaks. Known for its signature deep-dish pizza, UNO launched a line of gluten-free pizzas in 2009, featuring cheese, pepperoni and veggie, which features peppers, onions and mushrooms as toppings.
With one in every 133 people having celiac disease, UNO considers it good business and good corporate citizenship to offer an ever-expanding gluten-free menu. While awareness of celiac disease is rising, more than 95 percent of people with the disease remain undiagnosed. Among people who have a first-degree relative-a parent, sibling, or child-diagnosed with celiac disease, as many as 1 in 22 people may have the disease.1
In addition to its gluten-free menu offerings, UNO boasts a number of healthy firsts, including being the first national casual-dining restaurant chain to eliminate artificial trans-fats and to increase menu and nutritional transparency via nutrition information centers located in their restaurants. For guest convenience and safety, UNO clearly labels menu items with ingredients that are linked to the most common food allergies, such as fish/shellfish, soy, tree nuts/peanuts, egg, milk and wheat/gluten.
The company has invested millions in nutritional advancements since 2005 and, according to Guidara, will continue its commitment to providing delicious, fresh and healthful menu options for its guests.
Based in Boston, UNO Restaurant Holdings Corporation includes 165 company-owned and franchised full-service UNO Chicago Grill restaurants located in 25 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Honduras, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The company also operates a fast casual concept called UNO Dué Go®, a quick serve concept called UNO Express®, and a consumer foods division which supplies airlines, movie theaters, hotels, airports, travel plazas, schools and supermarkets with both frozen and refrigerated private-label foods and branded UNO products.
"Prevalence of celiac disease in at-risk and not-at-risk groups in the United States: a large multicenter study. Fasano A - Arch Intern Med - 10-FEB-2003; 163(3): 286-92"