January 23, 2015
Everyone who has ever dieted before knows that counting calories is key to keeping healthy eating in check. The consequence to not adding up every morsel you put into your mouth is not dropping the pounds you had hoped to lose. However, under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), if restaurants don’t count each calorie of every dish on their menu and display it for customers, they could face jail time.
This final regulation imposed on companies is causing a huge headache for many a la carte type eateries, specifically pizza companies such as Dominoes. The Michigan based pizza chain says it is “impossible to comply” with this new rule.
“Essentially we think this rule is a kind of disaster for everybody,” Lynn Liddle, executive vice president of Domino’s, told the Washington Free Beacon. “Not just pizza but restaurants, and anybody that’s going to fall within this law. It’s still not workable.”
The problem with the rule is that it’s too broadly written and demands that a complete calorie count must be noted on the “menu” in which a customer orders from, without defining what is a menu. The vaguely used term could apply to advertisements, flyers, newspapers, or signs in the window, since customers order from all of these. In its broadest sense, this rule could also apply to a television ad. Liddle said that vague verbiage makes it “literally impossible to comply” with the demand.
“We no longer know what a menu is,” Liddle said. “It’s really hard to interpret. Essentially they’re saying anything that a consumer can look at and make a potential ordering decision from is a menu.”
Despite Dominoes having been one of the more outspoken companies in the argument against the pitfalls of Obamacare, Liddle said that the company agrees with the regulation’s goals and has been providing calorie information for more than a decade. The company has even designed an online tool called the “cal-o-meter” that allows consumers to see the total calories of any pizza they order and solves the impossible task of displaying calorie totals for an endless amount of pizza combinations a customer may choose.
Liddle said a low-ball estimate of combinations Domino’s offers is 34 million, and it’s estimated that their competition, Pizza Hut, has 2 billion possible combinations. Not only would it be impossible to post all the calorie counts for all 2 billion of those variables, it would prove to be a daunting task for customers to have to sift through it to find their combo.
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