If someone looking at a restaurant menu cover discovered that calories would be posted by each menu item, would that affect what they ordered, or even if they ate in the restaurant? Many restaurants already follow this practice, or at least have the calories posted of their light or diet menu. If restaurants are successful posting the calorie count on a few items, why wouldn’t they be more successful posting them on all items?
As the restaurant-going public becomes more and more health conscious it is likely that this practice would draw in more clients. After all, anyone watching what they eat needs to track calories. A restaurant that makes that process easier is likely to attract more customers. A restaurant that avoids the practice is going to be less likely to draw in the diet crowd.
Some restaurants may be hesitant to display calorie counts of their more fattening menu items, but would that matter? Customers not watching calories aren’t likely to care. Diners who are calorie-conscious already know that the double cheeseburger with fries is not on their diet. But if the nutritional info of all menu items were posted, they would be able to find something that suited their needs. And come back for another visit. And tell their dieting friends where to eat.
A savvy restaurateur would realize that their clients fall into two categories; those that care about the calorie content of their food and those that don’t. Posting calories on their menus wouldn’t affect the first group, but would attract the second. There may be a small percentage of people who are intimidated by the fact that the loaded baked potato was 525 calories, but would the profit margin be cut if they ordered a salad instead?
Restaurants are constantly trying new things to attract the fickle dining out crowd. With nutritional content becoming more of a hot button issue with many people, posting calorie counts on menu items may be a competitive edge.