On The Menu: RDNs Dish on Nutrition Careers in the Restaurant Industry

Recorded Webinar

A growing number of RDNs work in restaurant chains. Three restaurant dietitians, each in a different stage of their restaurant careers, will discuss their unique roles.

  • Release Date: July 30, 2019
DPG Member Price
Member Price
Nonmember Price

This product is free for FCP members.

This webinar was presented live on July 30, 2019.

Did you know there are a growing number of RDNs that work for restaurant chains? Are you curious about their roles and what exactly they do all day long? Spoiler Alert: it is much more than number crunching. Three restaurant dietitians, each in a different stages of their restaurant careers will discuss their unique roles. Learn how they used a combination of the traditional dietetics training and other non-dietetics skills to obtain, sustain and grow their careers in the food industry. Hear how mounting regulations, consumer demand for information along with sustainability initiatives will likely continue to generate more opportunities for dietetics professionals in the restaurant industry.

CPEU: 1.0
CPE Level: 2
Learning Need Codes: 1010, 8070, 8120
Performance Indicators: 11.3.7, 8.3.4, 8.4.1

Learning Objectives

  1. Explain the role(s) or function of the RDN in the restaurant industry.
  2. Describe essential skills and resources used by restaurant RDs.
  3. Identify pathways that can lead to a nutrition related job in the restaurant industry.


Sarah Hendren, MS, RDN, LDN, CD

Sarah Hendren, MS, RDN, LD, CD, is a dietitian with a breadth of experience in food and nutrition communications, sustainability and leadership coaching. She is the Principal Owner of Hendren Group LLC where she supports clients with food and nutrition communications, providing strategic guidance on messaging, claims and food policy. 

Sarah has been working in the food industry since 2013, beginning her career at the restaurant chain Culver’s, the franchisor for over 760 restaurants in 26 states. She joined Culver’s in 2013 as the organization’s first registered dietitian and was promoted to Nutrition & Quality Assurance Manager in 2016. She led the implementation of the uniform national menu labeling regulation and continued to be the driving force behind the brand’s commitment to simplify ingredients, reduce sodium across the menu, and remove partially hydrogenated oil, MSG and other ingredients from the menu. Sarah currently works as a Regulatory Affairs consultant for PepsiCo Frito Lay North America where she provides regulatory affairs guidance on core product ingredient specifications, ensuring products on retail shelves meet US and global regulations. 

Sarah currently holds a position on the Academy’s Committee for Lifelong Learning, helping develop the educational tracks for FNCE®. She has held numerous executive committee positions with the Dietitians in Business & Communications Practice Group, including Treasurer, Marketing Chair and Newsletter Editor. She served as the Northeast Region Director for Texas, representing over 1,400 nutrition professionals. She is currently serving her second year on the Nominating Committee, helping identify a qualified, diverse and representative group of nominees for the upcoming election. 

Sarah received the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year Award in 2019 and Outstanding Dietetics Student of the Year Award in 2013. She was the recipient of the Founder’s Award in 2020 and Circle Award in 2019 from the Dietitians in Business & Communications Practice Group, recognizing her strategic influence, leadership and service to the practice group. Most recently, Sarah has been nominated for the Outstanding Preceptor Award in the state of Texas, recognizing her exceptional skills to teach and mentor students in a nontraditional rotation, focusing on business and leadership development. 

Sarah received her clinical dietetic training at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital. She earned her Master of Science degree in nutrition from Central Michigan University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Outside of work, Sarah loves golfing, hiking, cooking and traveling with her husband, daughter Emma and yellow lab, Sasha.

Lanette Kovachi, MS, RDN

Lanette Kovachi, MS, RDN is the Head of Global Nutrition for the Subway® restaurant chain. In this role she makes sure customers around the world have access to accurate and transparent nutrition and ingredient information so they can make informed menu decisions. She has guided the Subway® team on important wellness strategies and menu initiatives, including: voluntary menu labeling, healthy kids’ meals, sodium reduction, removal of artificial trans fat and increasing the whole grain content of the bread.

Lanette has advised on or participated in several public health initiatives including: the Connecticut Department of Health’s Obesity Prevention Project, the FDA Keystone Forum on Away-From-Home Food, the CDC National Fruit and Vegetable Program Steering Committee, and the National Sodium Reduction Initiative. She is also a current member of the Culinary Institute of America’s Healthy Menu Collaborative.

Lanette is former president of the Connecticut Dietetic Association and was a recipient of the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). She is currently an executive board member for the AND Food & Culinary Practice group.

Sarah Martin, MPP, RDN, LRD

Sarah Martin, MPP, RDN, LDN, is the Nutritionist for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. She oversees recipe writing, menu analysis, food cost systems management, and provides guidance on nutrition and menu labeling. A Tennessee native and farmer’s daughter, Sarah’s passion for agriculture and food lead her into a career in the restaurant industry. Sarah is past president of the Nashville Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and she proudly serves as the Council on Professional Issues-Chair Elect for the Tennessee Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

  • Release Date: July 30, 2019