Menu Labeling Requirements Guide for Restaurants

As the needs, desires, and demands of the modern consumer change with time, the way restaurants label their menus will, too. The everyday customer now demands more transparency from the restaurants they choose to patronize. With this, the FDA’s standards have changed to meet the needs of consumers. 

With allergens, food restrictions, and more health-conscientious customers on the rise, how will restaurants keep up? The updated menu labeling requirements for restaurants ask for greater transparency. Here’s how restaurants are making the change.

Menu Labeling Requirements and Guidelines

So what is menu labeling? It’s providing accurate nutritional information to your customers shows them that you care about their needs. The FDA imposed several regulations on restaurants regarding their menu labels. These new regulations include:

Calorie Labeling

For franchises with 20 or more locations, calories must be listed next to each item. As ingredients and recipes shift depending on the customer’s needs, the calorie count will inevitably change. An estimated calorie count is acceptable, too. In most cases, restaurants will display the minimum and maximum amount of calories in each dish. For the health-minded consumer, this is vital.

Nutritional Information

Nutritional information must be ready for display. Although nutritional information does not need to be on the primary menu, it must be available upon customer request. Menus should clearly state “additional nutritional information available upon request.” This way, customers know there is an option to ask.

For each recipe, nutritional information should include:

  • Total Calories
  • Total fat
  • Saturated fat
  • Trans fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Total carbohydrate
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Sugars
  • Protein

Allergen Information

In compliance with food safety laws, establishments must work to be allergen-friendly. This means restauranteurs must possess an understanding of the ingredients used in each dish. Flagging allergens like tree nuts, peanuts, dairy, gluten, sesame, shellfish, soy, or eggs will make a significant impact on the customer’s dining experience. This also means restaurants should ensure no cross-contamination between potential allergens.

Other Menu Requirements

These requirements also apply to displaying items or items on a self-serve counter. Calories must be displayed in the item description. This applies to bakeries, buffets, and supermarkets, among others, too. The same goes for grab-and-go food items pre-made in a food establishment.

As an option, restaurants can display the recommended total number of calories on their menus as well. This ensures a contextual understanding for consumers, so they know the significance of the calories listed on the menu.

Update Your Restaurant Menus With Accurate Labels

Bearing this new information in mind, hard-working restaurants beg the question, “where do we begin?” Before nutritional analysis software, restaurant owners had to work double time to produce accurate labels. Restaurant menus needed to be completely reworked from their previous model, and owners were left scrambling. Luckily, there’s a more efficient way.

SmartMenu technology is an all-in-one nutritional database that produces FDA-compliant menus in minutes. Update your restaurant menus to comply with these new standards on one easy-to-use platform. With SmartMenu technology, you can create a comprehensive menu that includes:

  • Allergen Information with SmartMenu’s intuitive allergen flagging feature 
  • Recipe-specific nutritional labels
  • Recipe-specific calorie count 
  • Built-in FDA compliance standards, so you stay updated on every new rule and regulation

Adhering to these new labeling guides shouldn’t be challenging. If you’re curious to take a peek at the user-friendly process, learn how SmartMenu works.

Easy Labeling for Menus for Restaurants

With over 300,000 ingredients and brands in our database, it’s never been easier to create a comprehensive menu label for your customers. If you’re curious about using breakthrough SmartMenu technology for your business, we invite you to contact us. We’re proud to serve business owners in expanding their menus for their restaurants. Choosing MenuCalc means choosing greater ease in your restaurant ownership experience. 

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