Down for the (Calorie) Count

Look out for calorie counts on chain menus this time next year

The battle over calorie counts on menus continues to charge on, and by this time next year, chain restaurants with 20 or more locations will be required to list calorie count information, Reuters reports.

The ruling is part of the Affordable Care Act, and this particular regulation was supposed to go into effect this coming December, but lobbyists for chains like Domino's and beverage producers (which along with vending machines will be subject to the same rules) pushed back. Margo Wootan, who is the director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest tells Reuters, "I'm hopeful that the date will stick."

Some chains, like McDonald's, Starbucks and Panera, already post calorie counts on menus and provide nutrition information. In New York, chains with 15 or more locations are required to post those numbers, and similar legislation is now in place for restaurants with 20 or more locations. For the most part, studies have shown that posting calorie counts fails to significantly impact the choices diners make. But high numbers have made some chains reconsider the foods they offer, prompting the addition of healthier options to the menus.

With the rise of delivery options like David Chang's Maple and Ando, UberEATS, and Amazon's restaurant delivery service, it seems that every food business is reconsidering how to best serve customers and take up as much of the market as possible. McDonald's is even testing out fresh beef patties at 14 locations in Dallas to stay competitive in a market that's flooded more and more by the Shake Shacks and Five Guys of the world.