business news in context, analysis with attitude

When the New York City Board of Health passed a regulation requiring fast food and national chain restaurants to post calorie information on their menu boards, it probably did not consider the impact of one facet of the new rules. As part of the effort to make sure that the new law would have more of an impact on national chains than on small independents with fewer resources, the Board of Health said that the rules only applied to restaurants already making the information available.

Which prompted Wendy’s, White Castle and Quiznos to pull that information off their individual websites before the March 1 deadline hit, so that they could say they were not making the information available anywhere and therefore did not have to comply with the new law.

"We fully support the intent of this regulation," Wendy's said in a statement on its Web site. "However, since most of our food is made-to-order, there isn't enough room on our existing menu boards to comply with the regulation."

NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden was not pleased. "If some restaurants stop displaying calorie information to avoid making it useful to customers, we should wonder what they're so ashamed of," he said in a statement.
KC's View:
If we worked for the NYC Health Department, we’d create a new regulation so fast it’d make these three chains gasp for breath trying to catch up.

We also think that the defiant chains have left themselves wide open for advertising campaigns against them that point out how afraid they are to make calorie information available, and how they are using legal loopholes to circumvent the system.

What a dumb reaction. And the only ones that lose are consumers.

And maybe, in the long run, these three chains, for being arrogant.