New FDA Menu Labeling Regulations
Everyone dines out at some point, and if you’re trying to watch your calories you know what a challenge it can be to try to eat healthy. According to the FDA, most Americans spend over 30% of their eating time dining-out or ordering-in and living in blissful ignorance of the calories they consume. And getting in depth nutritional can be a real challenge.
“According to the FDA, most Americans spend over 30% of their eating time dining-out or ordering-in…”
When does this start?
All that is about to change December 1st, 2015 when menu board calorie regulations kick in via the 2015 FDA menu labeling regulations (full details). Get ready for the end of guilt-free eating out…oh, and more good news, this includes alcohol. While NYC and Seattle residents already enjoy caloric info on menus, the rest of nation will get access to this information at the end of this year.
Simplified, the FDA provided this infographic to make who and what is required to be disclosed easier to digest.
What does compliance look like?
How do restaurants with 20 or more stores comply with the massive caloric disclosure? There are a couple of options:
- Reprint all menus with the required information. When a menu item or recipe changes, either reprint the menus or cover the information with a label to correct. The price changes and man hours required to do this is extensive over time, and what if someone makes a mistake? Will you be held liable? Multiply this process by 20 or more stores and you’ve now gotten out of the restaurant business and into the printing business.
- Have a one page calorie guide, or train your staff to memorize said caloric information. Not the most effective, and worse it doesn’t cover the need. All menu boards AND printed menus must include caloric and other information.
- Go digital, as in signage. Augment it with digital tablets that can be shared table-side or at the counter with full nutritional info. Work with an established leader in the menu board space. The latest commercial displays are much more cost effect as is the software, and allow you to remotely deploy the information and updates. The systems today are easy to use, require minimal training and a single update can go out to all locations simultaneously. The time and expense you save and make over the course of a year is tremendous (saving time for improving your customer experience is a worthy option), plus the flexibility of being able to change and schedule your menu, prices, promotional information and more.
The future is here!
The clock is ticking and as others are gearing up to make the changes and comply you don’t want to wait until the last-minute… do your homework and come up with a plan of action, or engage a professional to take the lead for you. Take a look through our portfolio section at some samples of the digital menu board projects that we’ve been involved with!