Obamacare requires restaurants to redo menus

One thing that was never debated, discussed or even considered during the health care debate: restaurant regulation. 

What does restaurant regulation have to do with the health care bill?  Who knows, but AP reports that tucked into the bill was a requirement that all restaurant chains include calorie information on their menus.  Thanks for letting us know beforehand (See http://bit.ly/cnmXEO).
A requirement tucked into the nation's massive health care bill will make calorie counts impossible for thousands of restaurants to hide and difficult for consumers to ignore. More than 200,000 fast food and other chain restaurants will have to include calorie counts on menus, menu boards and even drive-throughs.
This piece of work done at the behest of the restaurant industry, which was asking for regulation in order to standardize all the patchwork of state and city regulations.  Contrary to popular belief, big business likes regulations.  It creates a barrier to entry that smaller companies will not be able to afford.  That is why even on the back of my Economist magazine is an ad from the insurance industry asking for national regulation.

Hot Air reports on how calorie requirement will kill jobs, and how it favors big business at the expense of small business (See http://bit.ly/9V9uzZ). 
The impact on businesses will be disproportionate to their size. Large restaurant chains with standardized menus can handle this mandate less expensively per dinner sold, thanks to the economies of scale, which is why Chili’s has the information on their national website. Chains under 20 locations will get exempt. But what about those chains with just over 20 locations?

Davanni’s, a local pizzeria-sandwich restaurant with 22 locations around the Twin Cities, will now have to comply with this mandate. A caller to my Saturday show (who wished to remain anonymous) told my radio partner Mitch Berg during a commercial break that it will cost Davanni’s approximately $200,000 to comply with the new mandate — just to start. Every menu change will require Davanni’s to have the new or modified items re-analyzed, which means that Davanni’s will probably resist adding new options for their customers. Meanwhile, larger chains with more economy of scale for such efforts such as Pizza Hut can do the tests once for all of their locations, keeping their prices lower for their customers — which they already do, thanks to consumer demand for the information.

Under those circumstances, will Davanni’s feel compelled to keep the extra three locations open, or to scale back to 19 to avoid the mandate? Even if they do keep all of their locations, that $200,000 will now get spent on something other than new jobs for teenagers and adults, and customers will pay higher prices for their food. Local and regional chains with 15-19 locations have a big economic disincentive to expand any further. I don’t know much about Davanni’s bottom line, but I’m pretty sure that even though they make some of the best pizza and hoagies in the area, they don’t have $200,000 lying around the pizza sauce to blow on lab analyses this year, or any other.
And so we don't forget, here is Nancy Pelosi explaining that we will have to pass the bill in order to find out what's in it.  She was so right for once. 


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