New Menu Labeling Requirements Make Digital Signage the Ideal Solution

It’s something that has been on the horizon for Quick-Service Restaurants (QSR) for a long time, and now the time has come. As of May 7, 2018 QSRs are required to post nutrition information. In Food Labeling: Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments, the FDA established its Final Rule to enforce the display of nutrition material for standard menu items for restaurants with 20 or more locations.

The rule is summarized as follows:

To help make nutrition information for these foods available to consumers in a direct, accessible, and consistent manner to enable consumers to make informed and healthful dietary choices, section 4205 of the ACA requires that calorie and other nutrition information be provided to consumers in restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations doing business under the same name and offering for sale substantially the same menu items (chain retail food establishment).

This ruling was initially set in motion by the Nutritional Labeling Provisions within the Affordable Care Act (2010).

The requirements apply for standard menu items, routinely included on a menu or menu board, which makes this process much more about accurate printing—menu boards make this an AV endeavor as well.

The requirement, however, is often calculated as a net benefit with benefits exceeding costs by $477.9 million. And of course, informed consumers will have improved health outcomes.

The following are the specifics required in implementing the nutritional contents on menu boards (from

The number of calories must be listed adjacent to the name or the price of the associated standard menu item, in a type size no smaller than the name or the price of the associated standard menu item, whichever is smaller, in the same color, or a color at least as conspicuous as the name of the associated standard menu item, and with the same contrasting background as the name of the associated standard menu item (proposed § 101.11(b)(2)(i)(A)(1)).

The calories must be declared to the nearest 5-calorie increment up to and including 50 calories and to the nearest 10-calorie increment above 50 calories, except that amounts less than 5 calories may be expressed as zero (proposed § 101.11(b)(2)(i)(A)(2)).

The term “Calories” or “Cal” must appear as a heading above a column listing the number of calories for each standard menu item or adjacent to the number of calories for each standard menu item. If the term “Calories” or “Cal” appears as a heading above a column of calorie declarations, the term must be in a type size no smaller than the smallest type size of the name or price of any menu item on that menu or menu board in the same color or a color at least as conspicuous as that name or price and in the same contrasting background as that name or price. If the term “Calories” or “Cal” appears adjacent to the number of calories for the standard menu item, the term “Calories” or “Cal” must appear in the same type size and in the same color and contrasting background as the number of calories (proposed § 101.11(b)(2)(i)(A)(3)).

With over 250,000 locations that make up a large portion of the 50% consumer food spend, meeting this requirement is still a massive undertaking for American QSRs.

But in such a competitive industry already managing evolving consumer tastes, seeking to understand millennial preferences and increased health-consciousness, complex deployments of digital signage and the corresponding mounting solutions could impact QSRs profit without the right solution partners.

Premier Mounts helps QSRs turn the digital menu board challenge into a stunning victory in sales-driving, engaging displays for both indoor and outdoor use.

And with a solutions team that adds value beyond traditionally commoditized suppliers in the form of design, consultation, customization and more, the fixed costs associated with owning the equipment will also decrease; proper design and installation limits re-installation. It’s common sense—doing things right the first time saves money.

As QSRs finalize menu board strategies, the mandatory nature of the legislation gives the menu-labeling requirements the tone of cost-mitigation and management—a burden. But in practice, it’s a catalyst for digital display which promises to uplift the entire industry. Just as consumers prefer menu transparency, they want engagement and interactivity. And with your digital menu board becoming your best salesperson, the revenue—and margins—associated with informed, hungry consumers will far outweigh the costs.