Does Restaurant Menu Labeling Apply to You?

Nowadays, you might hear restaurant professionals throwing around the term “restaurant menu labeling”. But what does this mean and who does it apply to? Read on to learn about the FDA-requirements for 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. This means that beverages, appetizers, entrees, desserts — you name it, must list their calorie content 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 before, the restaurant menu labeling law only requires food establishments with 20 or more locations to provide calorie counts and nutrition information. However, other restaurants still benefit from doing so. 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.

Menu Labeling in 2022

Nowadays, your dining guests want to dine out according to their preferences — from calories, to nutrition values and even allergen labeling. As a result, independent restaurants with only a single location report the benefits of offering the nutrition information for their menu offerings. Typically, these benefits include:

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

Observing restaurant menu labeling could do your restaurant menu a world of good, even without the FDA requirement. What began as a solution for the obesity epidemic became 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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