If you operate a restaurant chain of 20 locations or more, May 5th 2017 should be a day you mark on your calendar. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set this date as the deadline for compliance with the new regulations set for in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which includes menu labeling requirements. Menu labeling requirements refer to the labeling of calorie content of food and nutrition information as an effort to provide clear and accurate information to the consumer. This information will need to be directly accessible to the consumer in the restaurant, with the intent of increasing healthy dietary habits.
As restaurants begin looking for ways to cut costs, especially as the latest industry outlook has been gloomy through the end of the summer months and into the fall, several restaurant groups have prioritized technology as a driving investment. Technology investments are a strategy to reduce or replace costs in the long term, through increased efficiencies. In order to meet the May 5th, 2017 deadline, which some are referring to as Menu-geddon, restaurant owners are looking to online data display solutions as opposed to printed collateral. This is mostly due to the increasing turnover in food items that come and go from the menu, which results in more frequent print runs to keep nutritional data up-to-speed. Online solutions provide faster turnaround on nutrition updates, as well as decreased hard costs typically associated with printing.
The change in legislation recognizes a cultural shift towards healthy eating habits and more calorie-conscious consumers, an audience of which some restaurant groups are struggling to strike appeal. The legislation was originally intended to be in effect throughout 2016, but strong lobbying efforts pushed the deadline back to what is now deemed the final deadline of May 5th, 2017. The delay provided many hope that the Affordable Care Act would see appeal, but for those more realistic about its inevitability the extension provided a longer runway for gathering accurate nutrition data.
If you have questions about how the legislation change will impact your restaurant group, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.