New York City restaurants are finally giving in after months of legal wrangling over a first-of-its-kind rule that requires national chain restaurants with 15 or more units to post calorie counts right on the menu. No fine print allowed—the calorie numbers must be in the same type size as the menu item and prices. Nutritional brochures or tray liners are not enough anymore in The City.
NYC restaurants falling into this category will face fines up to $2,000 per store for not posting calories prominently. This doesn’t apply only to quick-service restaurants; fast-casual eateries such as Friday’s, Bennigan’s and Applebee’s must also comply.
As if soaring gas and food prices aren’t enough to deal with, New Yorkers are now suffering from calorie sticker shock, staring at drive-thru menu boards listing 910 calories for a 1/3 pound thickburger at Hardee’s, 840 for a Wendy’s Baconator, or 540 for a Big Mac. Even a Subway footlong tuna sandwich comes in at a whopping 1,060. And then there’s the fries or chips and drinks that we order to go with.
Or maybe you’re going to nice sit-down-and-order kind of place. Do you realize an order of Aussie cheese fries with ranch dressing may contain nearly 3,000 calories. But you’re sharing, right? Right?
Of course, all these scary numbers are readily accessible on the Internet at a variety of sites such as The Fast Food Explorer. And should we really be surprised that something called a “thickburger” is high in caloric content?
Not really. But looking at the figures right as you’re about to order the food…well, I could see where that would be daunting.
Now I understand you might be caught off-guard by, say, a blended coffee frappuccino (venti) at Starbucks clocking in at 301 calories, but for the most part we really kind of know what we’re getting into when we order a cream-filled donut at Krispy Kreme or a Double Whopper at Burger King, right?
But to have to think about it right as I order it…yeah, that would be hard. Would it send me to another part of the menu, though? To a salad with low-fat dressing? If I’m really hungry, I doubt it. Now, I don’t live in New York City, so I don’t have to face this dilemma. Not yet, anyway.
But don’t most of us hear Jiminy Cricket’s voice in our ear when we’re about to order something we shouldn’t? Or maybe Mom’s? Or our family doctor’s? Or Jack LaLane’s? I guess maybe it’s easier to ignore an inner voice or conscience—pushing it out of our minds—than it is to disregard cold hard numbers staring you in the face.
Well, I’ll just have to see how I hold up next time I visit The Big Apple. And I’d love to hear from any of you New Yorkers out there. Let me know how you’re coping.