Results from our latest poll indicated that a New York City regulation passed recently, requiring chain restaurants with more than 15 outlets nationally to display calorie information on menu boards, is unfair. The regulation is aimed at stemming obesity, and is set to start on March 31. However, restaurant lobbyists have been in federal court trying to obtain a restraining order while they fight the order (they have been successful in doing so in the past).
Two poll groups had roughly the same number of respondents – nearly 34 percent. One group agreed that the regulation is unfair, as it could lead to lost beverage business for operators. This could occur if consumers are negatively influenced by calorie counts on menus and decide not to order a cocktail or glass of wine; or, are dissuaded by calorie information from ordering a second drink. But an equal number of respondents were willing to compromise: They said the regulation could be fair if re-worked so that calorie information is posted not on menu boards, but elsewhere in the restaurant.
But there were other viewpoints as well. The two remaining groups – who each shared approximately 17 percent of the total vote – were split on whether it’s fair or not. One group said it’s fair simply because consumers have the right to know the amount of calories they are consuming during a meal at a restaurant. But opposing this, the other group claimed that since it is difficult to accurately gauge the number of calories in a cocktail or even a glass of wine, since drinks are often not prepared or poured in exactly the same way, it is best to leave calorie counts off menus. To express your views on our current poll question, go to www.BevInfoGroup.com.