Overcoming Negative Perceptions of Menu Labeling

Negative Perceptions of Menu Labeling

By now you should be savvy on menu labeling, how to implement, and menu labeling benefits. But what about all those nay-sayers who talk about big issues like cost and those hard-to-define menu items? Check out some of the ways your restaurant can overcome these negative perceptions!

High Cost

The FDA estimates that, on average, a restaurant chain will spend $22,000 to complete nutrition analysis through the service based nutrition analysis method. This estimate is based on the cost of nutrition analysis plus 4 hours of record keeping time per menu item for 80 menu items. Holy cow! 22 large sounds ridiculous!

Lets look at this number closely:

  • 4 hours of record keeping is a little on the high side in my opinion. If you’re working with a good nutrition analysis company, they can help you cut this down significantly. You can even do a large part of this yourself.
  • 80 menu items isn’t out of the question, but lets say your restaurant only has 50 menu items. Even at the high end of  $125 per menu item we’re down to $6,250 for nutrition analysis.
  • Let’s say your restaurant has 20 locations and is therefore required to have menu labeling. You can divide that cost among the locations, taking that $22,000 total down to $1,100 per location. Not to mention, if you’ve taken note of the two bullet points above, you’ll be able to get that number even lower.
  • Bottom Line: If you do your own record keeping, and you go with a less expensive service of $85 per menu item then you are looking at $4,250  for 50 menu items. Divide that over 20 locations, it’s only $213 per location!

Another key is to get your marketing staff on board! When coupled with an effective marketing campaign, menu labeling can be cost efficient and provide a nice return on investment (ROI). Check with a nutrition analysis company to see if they offer marketing services for more help and information.

Hard to Define Menu Items

Made-to-order menu items (like those well-known burrito joints), can create a difficult challenge to listing calorie information. Nutrition information for these items is often listed in a range, which can be confusing for customers. One alternative is to provide further details about individual ingredient options in a brochure or information board. Check with a nutrition analysis company to see if they offer assistance with hard to define menu items.

Impact on Obesity

One of the major goals of implementing the menu labeling laws was to make a positive impact on rising obesity rates in adults and children. A large portion of research indicates that menu labeling has little effect on the food choices of consumers at the point-of-purchase. However, the majority of these studies do not look at the long-term effects of menu labeling on obesity. Studies that do look at the long-term effects of menu labeling having promising results, especially for individuals who choose to use the information.

Extra Tip: Some nutrition analysis companies offer payment in installments. It doesn’t have to be all upfront!


Is your restaurant too small for menu labeling? Think again! There are several ways for Small- to Mid-sized Restaurant to Implement Menu Labeling without breaking the bank.


Evaluate the Plate
Dallas, TX