• Home
    Home We Serve America's Restaurants Representing nearly 500,000 restaurant businesses, we advocate for restaurant and foodservice industry interests and provide tools and systems that help members of all sizes achieve success.
  • Foundation
    Foundation Building & Retaining Talent The NRAEF is focused on developing a stronger workforce and building the next generation of industry leaders through education, scholarships and community engagement.
  • Show
    Show May 18-21, 2019 As the international foodservice marketplace, the National Restaurant Association Show provides unparalleled opportunities for buyers and sellers to come together, conduct business and learn from each other.
  • ServSafe
    ServSafe Minimize Risk. Maximize Protection. For over 40 years, ServSafe® training programs have delivered the knowledge, leadership and protection that have earned the trust and confidence of business leaders everywhere.

National Restaurant Association - After more than a decade, menu labeling is appetizing

Skip to navigation Skip to content

News & Research

News RSS

After more than a decade, menu labeling is appetizing

After more than 10 years of planning, menu labeling is the law of the land. Cicely Simpson, the National Restaurant Association’s executive vice president of public affairs, explains what it means for our industry and guests, and our role in helping the government shape the rule to benefit everyone:

What it means: Starting May 7, federal law requires restaurants with 20 or more locations to post calories on their menus. Nutrition information will now be available at more than 200,000 restaurant locations nationwide.

Why it’s important: In the United States, the average consumer eats and drinks about a third of their calories away from home, so this law is a huge win for everyone. Not only will it help Americans make better choices when they dine out, it also represents a powerful example of government and industry working together to benefit those we serve.

How it came together: Recognizing in 2008 that federal guidance was long overdue, our industry began working with lawmakers and more than 70 public health and business groups to advance national menu-labeling guidelines to provide clarity for restaurant operators and consumers alike. After more than two years of work, the guidelines passed in 2010, but our work didn’t end there. We needed to keep working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as they wrote the final rules to improve and protect them against attempts to weaken them.

The result: By working with our industry, the government addressed the areas of greatest concern and provided restaurants with the ability to implement the law in a way that positively affects customers and their dining experience. It also will help avoid costly litigation and unnecessary delays.

The return on investment: Restaurant owners and operators have invested a lot of time, effort and money in implementing this law. Those required to comply will need to include calorie counts on menus, menu boards and drive-thru displays. They also will have to provide other nutritional information to customers. The fact is that many of our members have already taken the steps to be in full compliance with the law, ahead of the May 7 deadline.

The end is a new beginning: Because of federal law, we will not return to the piecemeal approach of years past, where menu-labeling laws passed on a state-by-state or city-by city basis and in some cases, by county. For some business owners, this meant designing different menus to accommodate different jurisdictions. That is no longer the case.

Choice. It’s what’s for dinner: For restaurateurs, the goal every day is to provide the best service to customers. Now, after a decade of hard work, diners from Portland, Ore., to Portland, Maine, will have a new tool to help them make the right choices for themselves. As any chef will tell you, a good meal is worth the wait.

Read the entire Op-Ed in The Hill

Conserve RSS Healthcare RSS Conserve RSS

▲ Back to Top

We're glad you're here!®

® 2012-2017 National Restaurant Association. All rights reserved.

2055 L St. NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
(202) 331-5900 | (800) 424-5156