Foodservice Equipment Reports

McDonald’s Unveils Calorie Count Info

McDonald’s big announcement last week that it would begin posting calorie-count information made headlines, but it isn’t the first chain to get a jumpstart on new federal menu-labeling regulations. It’s just the biggest.

For the past few years, chains such as Panera Bread Co. and Au Bon Pain have been posting calorie counts in their stores. Menu labeling is already mandated in cities, including New York, and states such as California, which last year began requiring restaurants with 20 or more locations to put calorie counts on menus.

And starting sometime next year, under the provisions of President Obama’s sweeping healthcare overhaul, all restaurant chains with more than 20 locations will have to post calorie and nutrition information. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is still fine-tuning some proposed rules items, such calorie counts for pizza makers and other eateries that allow customers to customize their dishes.

But last week, the buzz was on McDonald’s. Starting this week, the world’s biggest restaurant chain will post calorie information on restaurant and drive-through menus. The chain also plans to announce that its restaurants in Latin America, which are owned by a franchisee, will start providing calorie information on menus this spring. McDonald's already posts calorie information in Australia, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

Analysts said they expect other major chains to soon follow suit.

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