Preparing for the FDA Caloric Menu Labeling: Part Two of Five

As QSR/Fast Casuals prepare to roll out the FDA caloric menu labeling requirements there are a number of questions that have arisen on how to actually display the calorie counts on menus.

In part two of my blog series on this topic I’d like to explore a few of the finer details a bit further to help with restaurant management. Here are some more specifics on the guidelines for displaying calorie counts on menu boards.

WAND FDA Compliant MenuSize
. The size of the calorie counts can be no smaller than the size of your price or menu item, whichever is smaller. In other words, you can’t the smallest font size possible to display your caloric count.
Best practice: display your calorie counts in the same font size as your prices.

Location. Your calorie counts must be displayed next to the name of the price of the menu item. Most restaurants list the calorie counts next to the price as it makes the most sense from a general layout perspective. However, that can be confusing for the customer with so many numbers in one place.
Best practice: separate the calorie counts from the price points so it’s clearer to the customer.

Color. Calorie counts must be displayed in a same color or in a color at least as eye-catching as the menu item. In other words you can’t try to use a hard to read font color.
Best practice: keep it simple and use the same font color as your menu item whenever possible.

Contrast. The FDA guidelines specify to use the same background or one at least as contrasting as what you are using for the menu item.
Best practice: again, keep it easy and use the same background as you are already using for the menu item.

Combo meals. If a menu board lists three or more items in a combination then your menu board must list this in a range of calories, such as 500-800 calories. If your menu board lists only two choices in a combo meal then you should declare them with a slash 500/800.
Best practice: self-explanatory, you’ve got to follow the guidelines the FDA has set on this one.

As you’re updating your Digital Menu Boards be sure to rely on your restaurant technology and on the skills of your creative team to advise you on the best way to add calorie counts to your menu boards in a clean, consistent and FDA compliant manner.