I work with many clients who own franchises—from restaurants to bakeries to grocery stores and even convenience stores. Recently, because of the menu labeling law requiring food establishments with 20 or more locations to include calorie counts on their menus, I’ve had an influx of franchise owners inquiring about our nutritional analysis software.
All these people have asked me similar questions about how to settle on a nutrition analysis software to use across their many locations. There are, after all, some key software features that are incredibly useful in a franchise setting. So, I’ve put together a guide to nutrition analysis for franchises in hopes of helping you select one that does all you need and more.
Nutrition Analysis for Franchises: Three Key Features to Look For
Not all nutrition analysis software is created equal. There are a lot of seemingly good deals out there, but don’t be fooled by a low price tag. You’ve really got to do your research and know what you are looking for before you commit. I’ve talked about how to choose the best recipe analysis tool before on this blog, but I haven’t really highlighted the top features franchise owners should look for specifically.
Below are the three most important features to look for when choosing a nutrition analysis software for your franchise:
- Online Software: Online software is going to be your best friend for several reasons. First, you can share it throughout your company, whereas if you choose a CD-ROM software, you’ll have to buy a separate disc for each location. Second, it’s a lot less expensive than other forms of nutrition analysis, like food lab analysis or analysis performed by an independent consultant. Third, as a franchise, you are likely very concerned about keeping your recipes safe, and online nutrition analysis software with a top-notch security rating is the most secure option.
- Multiple User Access: Make sure you choose a software that allows more than one person to sign in at once. MenuCalc, for instance, allows as many users to have access to your account as you wish; all you have to do is give them your username and password. What’s great about this is you can divide up the analysis work among your franchises so one person doesn’t have to do it all themselves. Also, each franchise can easily add items that are unique to their location. Not only does the ability to share the software and collaborate save you big bucks, but it also allows you to see what tasty and exciting dishes your other locations are serving.
- A Duplicate Function: Many franchises have signature dishes that are the same at all locations, and some locations like to put their own twist on a classic to keep their local clientele happy. If this sounds like your franchise, I’d suggest choosing a software with a duplicate function that allows you to create a copy of a recipe and tweak the ingredients without having to re-enter the whole thing all over again. This feature will not only save you a ton of time, but it may also inspire you to get creative with variations on some of your signature dishes.
Other Considerations When Choosing a Software
While the above features are especially handy for franchises, there are a few other important elements to consider before you pay and sign up for an account. These features will distinguish a quality nutrition analysis software made for people in the restaurant industry versus cheap online software intended for personal use:
- Proprietary Ingredient Analysis: Some software only allows you to use ingredients that appear in their database, which can be a problem if you have a special ingredient from your supplier. Proprietary ingredient analysis lets you to add your own ingredients and their nutrition information to your recipes for easy, hassle-free analysis.
- FDA-Compliance: FDA-compliant software generates your nutrition results in a format that is accepted by the FDA. This means the results will be highly accurate and your nutritional values will be instantly rounded in compliance with the FDA’s rounding rules.
- Expert Menu Labeling Consultants: Many clients have questions as they navigate the process of analyzing their recipes and posting calorie information on their menus or menu boards. As such, choosing a software that has expert menu labeling consultants there to help can be invaluable. Not only will they make the whole process much easier for you, but they can also give you advice on complying with the FDA’s rules or even perform the analysis for you.
Now that you know which features to look for, you should have no trouble finding a quality, easy to use, convenient online nutrition analysis software for your restaurant franchise. Nutrition analysis software doesn’t have to be tricky, after all—even if you have several locations to account for. If everyone works together to get a piece of the job done, you’ll be finished before you know it!