Industry News | April 15, 2009

Software Helps Stores Comply with Menu Labeling

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With menu-labeling legislation rising on town council agendas across the country, dozens of companies are popping up to help operators comply with the new rules.

One such company is WellTech Bistro, which provides menu-labeling services such as nutrition analysis, menu consulting, and Web-based nutrition calculators to restaurants.

The company’s Interactive Nutrition Calculator Product is a piece of software operators can purchase and have added to their own Web sites, allowing diners to log on and calculate the nutrition of their meals.

The turnkey Interactive Nutrition Calculator costs a one-time $599 installation fee plus $99 a month for maintenance.

“Operators start from a blank slate and input all their menu items and ingredients,” says Dina Aronson, president of WellTech Bistro.

“Once that’s finished, their customers go on the Web site, plug in what they want from the menu and then the nutrition facts panel updates with the calories and nutrients.”

The nutritional analysis has to be done either by a third-party registered dietician or one provided by WellTech Bistro.

Menu-labeling regulations are expanding throughout the nation and may become standardized for all states under the recently re-introduced and National Restaurant Association—supported LEAN Act.

The law would require restaurants with 20 or more stores to provide detailed nutrition information on request.

Although the LEAN Act has received criticism for not requiring restaurants to post calorie counts directly on menus or menuboards, the MEAL Act does just that.

For operators concerned about either piece of legislation affecting their businesses, recent software developments will help them comply.

The Quick Save & Print product will be out this summer and allows operators to input certain meal options, calculate the nutrition, and print the results.

--Blair Chancey

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