Does Restaurant Menu Labeling Apply to You?

If you are in the food service business you may have heard the term “restaurant menu labeling” being thrown around amongst your peers or other restaurant professionals. But what exactly is menu labeling and who does it apply to? We’re covering all the basics for the FDA-requirements around the appropriate labels for your menu and how or if it applies to your establishment.

What is restaurant menu labeling? Is it required by the FDA? Does it apply to my food business? Find out below!

What is Restaurant Menu Labeling? 

As of May 2018, the FDA began enforcing a regulation for food service businesses to observe restaurant menu labeling. What this means is that the beverages, appetizers, entrees, desserts — you name it, must have the calories listed next to them on every restaurant menu. This regulation was put in place as the government’s way to begin battling the obesity epidemic in the United States in conjunction with efforts being made by the World Health Organization. The overall goal was to allow dining guests to make informed decisions about the foods that they were choosing to eat at restaurants and other foodservice establishments. This regulation was put into place in hopes that making informed-decisions would decrease the amount of calories consumed by diners and would result in a positive impact on the obesity crisis.

restaurant menu labeling

Should you be observing the restaurant menu labeling laws? All depends on how many locations you have. However, you might want to offer nutrition information to your dining guests for other reasons.

Does Restaurant Menu Labeling Apply to Me?

While the restaurant menu labeling effort was a noble one released by the FDA and other governments, it does not apply to every food establishment. This particular regulation is only a requirement for restaurants and other food-service businesses that have 20 or more locations. These establishments include but aren’t limited to:

  • Quick-serve restaurants
  • Dine-in restaurants
  • Drive-Thrus
  • Movie Theaters
  • Hotels
  • Convenience Stores
  • Hospitals

And while food service businesses in excess of 20 locations are the only food businesses required to provide nutritional information on their restaurant menu, it has become somewhat of a consumer demand in more recent years and other smaller franchises and independents have begun to adopt the practice.

Should I Provide Nutrition Information for My Restaurant Menu? 

As we mentioned previously, even though food establishments with 20 or more locations are the only ones required to provide calorie counts and nutrition information via the restaurant menu labeling law, that doesn’t mean that others can’t benefit. In recent years, there has been an increase for what consumers like to call “nutritional transparency” amongst food establishments. Nutritional transparency simply means that they are interested in knowing what’s in their food, and you might be surprised to discover that it doesn’t only mean the caloric values.

restaurant menu labeling

In our post-covid world, consumers are more concerned than ever about their health. And this means, how the foods that they eat impact them as well. For those who do not have 20 locations or more, you may find benefit in offering nutrition information on your menu anyway.

Now more than ever, your dining guests want to dine out according to their preferences — from calories, to nutrition values and even allergen labeling. This has become such a popular demand that independent restaurants with only a single location have seen the benefits of offering the nutrition information for their menu offerings. They’ve reported such positive benefits as:

  • Decreased questions to staff
  • Shorter ordering times
  • Increased traffic
  • Improved customer loyalty

And those are only a few of the reasons why observing restaurant menu labeling could do your restaurant menu a world of good whether it’s required by the FDA or not. What began as a solution for the obesity epidemic has quickly taken flight as one of the highest demanded services amongst food establishments.

Want to reap the benefits for yourself? Have a few questions around how restaurant menu labeling can benefit you? Make sure to contact us. Not only is it easy to provide nutrition values for your menu items, it’s fast and convenient too. We’ll show you how. 

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