Menu board nutritional information – updating at your own pace

Back in 2010, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandated that all chain restaurants post calorie information on their menus. But several years later the policy is still strongly debated and its future unclear.

However, as more and more consumers continually request this information at point of sale, many popular chains are not waiting for the mandate to become a reality.

Starting June 25, Starbucks Corp. will post calorie information at all of its company-operated and licensed U.S. units – more than 11,000 locations nationwide.

“What we’ve learned from [customers] is that they like to have access to nutritionals and calorie counts, just as an FYI, even if they’re coming in just for an iced coffee or an indulgent beverage,” said Holly Hart Shafer, a spokeswoman for Starbucks. “They want to know what they’re consuming.”

Many foodservice chains have argued that the impending mandate will put a financial burden on individual locations to update, or in some instances completely replace, their menu board systems.

But with Starbucks, and other chains that already rotate their menu boards seasonally, the cost won’t be much of an issue as they are timing their update with their annual summer menu change outs.

Other chains have also started updating their menu boards before the mandate goes into law. McDonald’s USA has begun listing calorie counts at its more than 14,000 locations in the US.

“Menu labeling is yet another step to extend our commitment to wellness, ensuring our customers and partners [employees] have the information they need to make informed decisions,” said Mary Wagner, senior vice president of Global Research & Development at Starbucks in a statement.

Knowing that the mandate will become reality at some point in the near future, many restaurant chains are voluntarily updating now to meet future standards. And with so many options for digital and hybrid menu board systems available, they are able to do it at a pace that’s comfortable and affordable for them.