Calories & Menu Boards: What You Need to Know (Part 2)

Last time, we talked about the FDA rules about showing calories on menu boards, in plenty of time before the December 2016 deadline.  So now that we know what the rules are, let’s talk about how to integrate calorie counts into your digital menu board, and make sure you don’t scare off calorie-counting customers!

cals3First of all, consider including a small explanation of what calories actually are: a measurement of how much energy can be obtained from an item of food.  Remind them that calories aren’t scary or a recipe for instant weight gain, just a way of measuring energy.  There’s no hiding these calorie counts—the FDA mandates that the calorie count font size has to be at least as large as the font size for the name of the food item—so focus on keeping your customers informed, not afraid.

That said, now is also a good time to start putting your healthier options front and center, and maybe even think about introducing some new ones.  Try out a new salad on your clientele, or spruce up the fruit cups nobody seems to notice.  At this critical point, you want to establish yourself as health-conscious, showing customers that you’re doing more than just complying with the bare minimum requirements.

If you’re working with a digital menu board, these changes are easy to implement!  Rather than tacking a conspicuous new piece of information onto an existing menu board or buying a whole new board, you can easily add the calorie information to the item descriptions you already have.  It’s just as easy to switch around the layout of your menu board in order to feature low-calorie items or to remind customers that calories are just a measurement, not a magical weight-gain bogeyman.  You could even consider devoting some space to a rotating selection of health facts, helping draw the eye to the board (by changing from one fact to another every few minutes) and bolstering your health-conscious image.

The thought of learning how to comply with these new rules might be intimidating, and time is ticking down but you can view this as an opportunity, not an obstacle.  With the help of easy-to-use digital signage, you can take this opportunity to show your customers that you really care about their health.

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