/ Menu labeling

Menu labeling can mean some big changes for a foodservice establishment. Aside from needing to reprint menus and menu boards to include calorie counts, they’ll need to make sure they have the infrastructure in place to keep their numbers accurate. A nutritional analysis is only as exact as the recipes used to prepare the food. If the recipes being followed in-house stray from what was reviewed, there’s no guarantee the posted values will be correct.
While it’s hard to see past the initial work it may take to get compliant with the menu labeling regulations, the long-term benefits can easily make up for it. Not only are uniform recipes necessary for an accurate analysis, a covered establishment must also be able to certify they’re doing everything possible to produce food that aligns with posted nutritional values. This can be accomplished with standardized recipes that are distributed to each store location, as well as a uniform order guide so products being used are either the ones used during the analysis, or are approved substitutions.
Not only will this guarantee that the posted nutritional values are being upheld, but a covered establishment may be pleasantly surprised to see what this could do to their food cost. A tighter control over inventory and what products are coming in the back door means a tighter control over food waste, and ultimately the bottom line. Standardized recipes also means a more uniform product is being served at each location, which is especially important for franchised operations. Staff members can also be held to a higher standard with these tools being given to them. Having a well-prepared team is critical to menu labeling success, and can translate to a smoother running operation in other facets of the business as well.
Any establishment that has become compliant with the menu labeling regulations over the past year won’t downplay the growing pains that may come along with the changes. However, having gone through the process has allowed them to tighten business operations and provide an even better product to their consumers. Menu labeling is in by no means meant to be a detriment to the industry, and should be embraced as an opportunity to change their internal workings for the better.