Health | March 2014 | By Chuck Green

Fine Print

Could nutritional information on guests’ receipts influence healthier choices?

Quick service restaurants inform customers of calories using receipts.
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To encourage mindful eating habits among consumers, a few small chains adopted a new way to display nutrition information on receipts.

Santa Barbara, California–based SmartReceipt allows brands to give customers relevant and personalized messaging about nutrition.

“Because SmartReceipt messaging is targeted based on factors like what items were purchased, time of day, and amount spent, we’re able to maximize the relevancy and impact,” says Jon Cassell, vice president of business development.

Burgerville experimented with SmartReceipt’s product at its Oregon and Washington units.

“We saw this opportunity as one where we could approach nutritional labeling from a different direction,” says Jack Graves, chief cultural officer.

However, Burgerville found guests’ ordering habits didn’t change. “Our guests value the qualities—like local sourcing, antibiotic- and hormone-free beef and proteins, and seasonality of fresh offerings of our ingredients—highly, more so than the calories alone,” Graves says.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates just over one-third of adults who eat at quick serves read calorie information. Among these, about 95 percent use the information at least some of the time, according to a 2009 CDC study.

New York–based 4food, which aims to “de-junk” fast food, also provides nutritional facts on receipts through proprietary means.

“I believe when ... guests are given accurate, accessible, and relevant information about food choices, it builds confidence and trust in your restaurant,” says Matt Sheppard, 4food’s COO.