Do you have any idea how many calories are in your bestselling cocktail? If you don’t, then it’s time that you figure it out. If your restaurant or bar is part of a chain with 20 or more locations, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will require that you display the calorie content for your standard drink menu items.
The deadline for this new initiative is December 1, 2015 and it covers every item that is listed on a menu or menu board.
The FDA definition for this new ruling covers items listed online as well as writings that you may not consider to be part of a menu. For example, if you are promoting or advertising a menu item (this includes its image or name along with its price) and it’s something that a customer can use to make a purchasing decision, you must include its caloric information. This holds true whether or not it has been listed as part of your standard menu.
Also something else to note is if an alcoholic drink isn’t listed on the menu, it is exempt from the FDA ruling. For example, if an item is available for 60 days or less in one location, you will not have to list its information. This applies to seasonal selections, limited time offers, daily specials, and draft beers that are on rotation for less than 2 months.
The rules also don’t apply to drinks that are ordered at the bar or that are not listed on the main menu. For example, you will not have to display the individual calorie amount of the items on the wine list.
You will also not have to include the calorie information of mixed drinks either i.e. unless they are listed on the menu. In addition, the FDA is allowing restaurants to use estimates of calories. This means that your menus will be required to list the average amount of calories in a glass of white or red wine, but not the actual amount of calories for every individual brand of wine i.e. unless you choose to do so. The same rule applies to spirits and beers.