Issues & Advocacy

Issue Brief

Menu Labeling

Congress enacted the federal menu-labeling law in 2010 that will require restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain of 20 or more locations to add calorie data to menus and make other information available to guests on request. The FDA announced May 4, 2017, that it has pushed the enforcement date to May 8, 2018. See for full details.


The National Restaurant Association worked with more than 60 public-health and other groups in support of the nutrition-disclosure law. The law benefits both restaurants and consumers:

  • Provides considers with uniform nutrition information.
  • Preempts more than 30 varying state and local requirements.
  • Offers legal protections to restaurants that can show a "reasonable basis" for the nutrition information they provide, with significant flexibility in the "reasonable basis" standard.
  • Levels the playing field by ensuring that all entities that serve restaurant-type food, including convenience and grocery stores, are covered by the law's requirements.
  • Covers restaurants and similar retail food establishment that are part ofa  company with 20 or more locations and offer for sale substantially the same menu items.
  • Provides a mechanism for smaller businesses to voluntarily come under the law's legal and preemption protections.


The National Restaurant Association is working to ensure a smooth transition for restaurants and consumers alike as the menu-labeling requirement moves toward implementation. Our priority is to ensure flexibility for covered restaurants, along with consistent, clear and reasonable enforcement measures.

The restaurant industry continues to support a uniform national standard. We believe the provisions and principles enumerated above are as important today as they were when the law was passed in 2010. Without a uniform standard and preemption, the 30+ state and local laws would be effective immediately, creating chaos and confusion for consumers and restaurateurs alike.