The restaurant indistry in the US is thriving. As huge investments and profits make news locally and nationally, and the clamor for more and better fast food rise to a crescendo, the US Govt has stepped in with a word of caution to the restaurateur and it’s patrons, with its Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) regulations.
The FDA was not really meant to play spoilsport for many quick service restaurants, as was apprehended initially. It merely wanted QSR’s to be transparent on it’s servings. The FDA guideline states that all QSR’s ( as also other categories of restaurants ) need to declare the sodium, fat and calorie content of their menu items, since these components impact on the health of the customer.
Most restaurants with digital menu board adaptations feel that the FDA regulations are a blessing in disguise as this has provided them the much-needed incentive to innovate on its menu and meet customer expectation:-
Restaurants And The FDA Compliance :
- Many restaurants in the US had always displayed the nutritional data of their food items, even before the FDA compliance became mandatory. Earning the customers trust has always been the best way to increased sales and profits.
- The advantages of digital signage ie, updating of menu board remotely anytime, even at real times have helped in rotating info on the screen along with displaying nutritional content
- Nutritional content display for gluten-free fast food items has helped build a niche clientele. Also, additions of new food items in compliance with FDA.
- Likewise, less sweetners and special desserts for diabetic patiets (customers ) have assisted in the restaurant’s building loyal clients.
- Display of calories, sodium, fats etc have enabled restaurants’ buld a trust with their customers, despite the fact that most customers already knew the health hazards/benefits of their orders.
- Compliance with FDA have enabled restaurant’s to charge a premium for healthy and nutritious food items. Thus, burgers with less fat content and pizzas with more calorie content could be priced accordingly.
- A direct outcome of the FDA regulations has been the restaurants’ better stock/inventory coordination and much improved kitchen efficiency.
- Digital signage is also about entertainment. Animations, videos, playlists, streaming with Tv and music and sports are all part of enhancing the customer experience.
The FDA From The Customer’s Perspective :-
- Customers seek and have nutritious and healthy food at home. At the same time, many customers like to indulge in junk food or fast food. Hence, for many customers the occasional sodium or fat intake for a meal in a QSR does not really make a difference. Mentally , that is.
- Those that were unaware of nutritional data or the calorie and protein composition of their burgers, steaks, pizzas, tacos….are getting the info first hand and authentic. It has enabled customers to take informed decisions on their food choices.
- Restaurants are more effervescent than ever in their attempts to pamper customers, with their food choices, gluten-free or less sweetners, more veggies, more protein, less fats….and what have you !
- Any restaurant that displays the nutritional value of its offerings is perceived to be trust-worthy and transparent. Which stimulates and builds customer loyalty. Loyal customers in-turn, recommend the restaurant to their friends and acquaintances.
- The restaurant experience for a customer is not just about food. It is one of fun, a break from the monotony.To de-stress. A lone customer can also soak in the vibrant ambiance and have a satisfying meal.
The FDA regulations is a welcome initiative for all concerned. Given the predominance of QSR’s today in the US and the frenzied preference for fast food, a need for quality control had become imperative. This had also been fueled by health experts and the rising graph in heart ailments. But the restaurant industry has proved that health and commerce can be mutually beneficial.