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Franchises Hungry For Menu Labeling Improvements

The International Franchise Association (IFA) recently urged the Food and Drug Administration to implement all of its provisions in the new menu-labeling regulations at the same time, rather than in stages, to help minimize confusion and cost for small, franchised restaurants. The IFA strongly supports providing customers with clear, consistent nutrition information on restaurant menus. Its request is purely intended to help franchised restaurants implement the provisions in the most cost-effective way with sufficient time to comply.

Why is the IFA placing this order?

The new law requires chain restaurant to post specified nutrition information for consumers. Given the complexity of the franchised restaurant business model, with no two companies the same, this is a daunting process since IFA member restaurant chains are comprised of hundreds or thousands of individual owners who may operate slightly differently under the same brand.

The cost of implementing the provisions all at once will be much more manageable to these small businesses owners, especially those struggling in these economic times, than the burden of multiple costs involved in repeating the process.

Making matters more complex is the decision of how to provide calories on menus. Many franchises require all foods to be approved by the company, while others allow individual franchise owners to add their own items without corporate approval. Some companies are letting franchise owners develop their own menu of non-system foods, but in this case, the cost of implementation will be the sole responsibility of the franchise owner.

Overall, the IFA believes that nutrition menu labeling is a positive action to serve the health of consumers. Its request for simultaneous implementation is simply meant to protect the financial health of franchise owners.

Michael Del Gigante is president and executive creative director of MDG Advertising in Boca Raton, Florida. MDG Advertising is a full-service South Florida advertising agency, with offices in Florida and New York, that specializes in developing targeted franchise marketing solutions, exceptional online executions, and solid branding and media buying strategies that give franchises a real competitive advantage. For more information, call 561-338-7797 or log on to

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