In Calorie Counts on Menus, Menu labeling, Nutritional Information, Restaurant Menus
calories on menu law

Staying ahead of the curve by staying on trend and placing calorie counts on your menu.

How Small Businesses & Restaurants Under 20 Locations Can Benefit From the Menu-Labeling Law

As of May this year, the FDA officially passed the menu-labeling law for all restaurants and food-service businesses with 20 or more locations. Under this regulation, businesses in the restaurant-industry are required to post calorie counts for all of their menu items next to each listing on their menus and menu boards

This long-awaited regulation was initiated under the Affordable Care Act in 2015 but was finally put into action by the Food and Drug Administration in May of 2019. This law applies to all types of food establishments throughout the food industry not limited to: 

  • Sit-down Restaurants
  • Convenience stores
  • Grocery Stores
  • Fast food restaurants 
  • Movie theaters 
  • Vending Machines

Under this new rule, these food establishments must not only list the calorie counts on their menus but have additional nutrition information available for customers who inquire. These include:

  • Total Fat
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Ingredient information (for allergens) 

The purpose of this new rule is to educate Americans to make better food choices by educating them about the calorie counts in popular menu items. By making this information readily available, customers can make better food choices while dining out and ultimately improve their health. 

How does this apply to my food business? 

If you own a food establishment that is under 20 locations operating under the same name, you may be wondering why you should take note of this new educational wave? Because your customers are. More than ever before, diners want to know the details of their meals. 

Millennials in particular are the major drivers behind this nutrient-knowing trend, and being that they have officially taken over as the consumers with the most buying power, their menu-labeling interests are definitely note-worthy. 

The Millennial consumer is one of the most unique in this day and age. Unsatisfied with any vague information whatsoever, this particular audience likes to be in control of what they consume. These innovators have brought us the farm-to-table movement and have redefined the word “quality” throughout the restaurant industry

If you aren’t convinced already, according to the Harvard Business Review, 50% of Americans hate cooking while another 35% have mixed feelings about it. With revenue from dining out growing year by year, it might be worth your while to add a few numbers to your menu, and we aren’t talking about your pricing. 

How is Menu-Labeling Done?

We are thrilled you asked. Menu labeling can be done a few ways, from lab-testing each of your recipes and collecting the data (which is both time consuming and expensive) to using FDA approved nutrition analysis software. By choosing option B, you’ll get the benefits of including the nutrition information that your customer base is demanding, without breaking the bank. Appealing to your audience while meeting demands and increasing profits? Sounds like a dream come true. Interested in option B? We thought so too. 

Choosing Reliable Software for Nutrition Analysis

When choosing a software to perform your nutrition analysis, there’s a few things you want to take into consideration: 

  1. Reliability
  2. Accuracy
  3. Confidentiality

The reliability of your software choice can be determined by both information back-up and storage. Using a cloud-based software that can provide unlimited storage for your recipes is key for not being limited to how many menu-items you can input at a time. Software that regularly backs up your stored information in the case server malfunction will also contribute to the reliability of your chosen nutrition program. 

Accuracy is another major component in choosing the right menu labeling software. By using a program that has an ingredient database derived from the USDA database itself will ensure that your nutrition analysis report will be correct as well as compliant with all FDA guidelines. 

Confidentiality, the final component, is perhaps just as important as the nutrition accuracy itself. Your recipes are what your business is built on, so confidentiality is key. A good nutrition analysis software created for the food establishments throughout the industry should offer a confidentiality agreement, protecting your information while delivering the nutrition information you need to be relevant to your audience and ahead of the menu labeling trend. 


Interested staying ahead of the trend by adding calorie counts and other nutrition information to your menu? MenuCalc is reliable, accurate and confidential cloud-based software that is FDA-approved for menu-labeling. Click here to learn more.

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