Should Calories be on the Menu?

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Over the last few years, more and more restaurant owners have been reporting an interesting trend: many diners are asking waiters about their dishes’ nutritional values. In many cases, they even ask for changes to be made to their orders: less fat, no sugar, no salt, etc. 

This comes as no surprise in an increasingly health-conscious society. While many restaurants overtly position themselves as healthy options, even establishments without this as their central message can benefit from greater transparency. 

The simplest way to be more informative about a particular meal’s nutritional content is by including a calorie count in your menu. While it is often difficult to pin down the exact number of calories a dish contains, it is possible to provide an accurate estimate by calculating the calories in each ingredient and weighting it by how much of each goes into the dish. 

In this article, we will be discussing five ways calorie labels can benefit your restaurant. 

Build Customer Loyalty

Building trust means more than just serving great food: it’s also about educating your customers on your offering. As the Millennial generation grows in spending power, transparency is becoming more important than ever

By being upfront about your calorie counts, you are telling customers exactly what they can expect. This makes them more likely to come back to your restaurant.

Besides creating loyalty among existing patrons, putting a healthy spin on your menu also gives you access to a larger share of the market. A significant portion of Singaporeans describe themselves as health-conscious, a fact that has been amplified by the pandemic. 

Save Time for Staff

At Menulytics, we believe that the role of a menu is to be a silent salesperson. An important aspect of sales is informing customers about a product’s benefits. 

Traditionally, it has been the role of waiters to answer any questions a client might have about the food. By letting your menu do as much of the talking as possible, you save time for your staff to focus on their other duties.

Sell Healthy Dishes

Calorie counts are a great way to sell your customers on nutritious dishes. If healthy eating is a significant part of your brand message, you will want to convey the benefits of your dishes as clearly as possible. 

A tool that many people are using to keep fit is a calorie tracking software like MyFitnessPal or the Fitbit app. Someone who is using this kind of app is probably actively looking to eat at healthy restaurants, or is at least trying to order the healthier dishes in restaurants they go to. Including calorie counts makes it easier for them to input your dishes into their tracker apps, and makes you a more convenient place to go.

Even if you are not an overtly health-centred restaurant, adding a calorie count makes it more likely that someone on a diet will stop by.

It Does Not Necessarily Reduce Spend

One fear about calorie labels is that they might discourage customers from ordering as much as they would have otherwise. After all, it would make sense that being able to know how many calories dishes contain causes people to eat less. 

The evidence for this, however, is inconclusive. A study published in J Community Health shows that a calorie label alone does not lead to a decrease in calorie intake. It has been suggested that rather than reducing the amount of food ordered at a restaurant, people instead compensate by eating less throughout the day.

In the event that listing your dishes’ calories does reduce ordering in the short term, we believe the long-term benefits of building loyalty and selling to the health conscious market are worth it.

It’s Easy to Incorporate Into Your Menu

Contactless ordering platforms like Menulytics make adding a calorie count to your menu as simple as tapping a few buttons on your phone. Unlike with print menus, you don’t have to go through the process of printing a brand new batch of menus.