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Are Restaurants Required to Put Calories on Menus?

You may have noticed more and more restaurants providing calorie information on their menus in the last year. This isn’t just a new trend, but a new law that requires certain establishments to provide this information to patrons.

Menu Calorie Labeling Law

As of May 7, 2018 restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain of 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name, offering for sale substantially the same menu items and offering for sale restaurant-type foods must include the calorie total of the item on the menu.

As of May 7,2018, #restaurants and similar retail food establishments must include the calorie total for #menu items. Click To Tweet

The menu calorie labeling law also applies to movie theaters, convenience stores, and vending machines. The calorie total of the item must be listed in close proximity to standard items on the menu and menu boards. And if a customer requests it, the restaurant must provide written nutrition information for standard menu items. The information that needs to be listed is as follows:

  • Total Calories
  • Total Fat
  • Saturated Fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Total Carbohydrates
  • Sugars
  • Fiber
  • Protein

The Pros and Cons of Posting Calories on Menus


  1. Building Trust – Providing the calorie account lets customers know that a restaurant is concerned about their health, and is providing them the information to help them make an informed decision.
  2. People Support ItA study by Nielsen found that 49 percent of consumers around the world support calorie information on menus in fast-food establishments and 41 percent think restaurants should provide the information.
  3. Educate And Prevent – This information can help teach young people about high caloric food at an early age and help to prevent obesity.  
49% of consumers around the world support putting #calorie information on #menus in fast food establishments. Click To Tweet


  1. Is It Actually Effective? – A study from Carnegie Mellon says it does not prevent people from choosing the food they like other a healthier option.
  2. Does Calorie Total Matter?Not all high-calorie items are bad for you. It can be argued that it is more about portion control and not eating “empty” calories.
  3. Restaurants Don’t Want To Scare Customers – Restaurants have fought back on having to implement this information because they don’t want people to know that their favorite menu item might be 2,000 calories.
According to a Carengie Mellon study, displaying #calorie information on #menus doesn't prevent people from choosing their favorite foods. Click To Tweet

Haven’t Updated Your Menus Yet?

Well, what are you waiting for? We can update or create your menus, menu boards, kids’ menus, catering menus, delivery menus, and whatever else suits your establishment’s needs.

Contact us at 800-642-3687 or email sales@dotit.com to learn more about our menu printing capabilities.

By | 2019-03-27T19:24:36+00:00 April 2nd, 2019|

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