California Restaurant Association Partners with FoodCalc® To Help Restaurants Comply with Statewide Menu Labeling Law

Sacramento, Calif., Feb. 3, 2008 – The California Restaurant Association (CRA) today announced a partnership with FoodCalc®, makers of an online tool, MenuCalc, which instantly calculates the nutritional profile of recipes.  As a CRA preferred-vendor product, MenuCalc will provide CRA members with an exclusive discount of 10 percent off already low prices for nutrition analysis and regulatory compliance services.

The CRA-FoodCalc partnership represents a significant milestone for California, the first state in the country to pass menu-labeling legislation setting standards for the disclosure of caloric information.  The result of collaboration between the Legislature, the Governor and the CRA, SB 1420 (Padilla) preempts local ordinances, requiring that chain restaurants with 20 or more locations provide nutritional information to consumers either on a menu or menu board.  Other states are expected to follow in California’s footsteps, potentially leading to national legislation down the road.

In practical terms, menu labeling has historically been unworkable for many restaurants due to the high costs of laboratories and consultants and the complexity of nutrition CD-ROMs.  In contrast, MenuCalc provides a time-efficient, economical solution, cutting costs in half by leveraging sophisticated web-based technology and a growing database of 20,000-plus ingredients.

“The CRA is excited to begin a partnership with FoodCalc as many of our members look for ways to comply with SB1420,” said Jot Condie, CRA president and CEO. “We see true value in their accurate online system, MenuCalc, combined with individualized access to trained registered dietitians.  The partnership will provide our more than 22,000 members with exclusive discounts that are particularly important during these challenging economic times.”

“Menu labeling is the wave of the future, driven by increasing consumer health consciousness and demand for dietary information,” said Lucy Needham, president and CEO, FoodCalc.  “Our mission is to offer all restaurants, regardless of size, a cost-effective and technologically-advanced nutritional analysis solution that helps them stay competitive in today’s tough economy.  We are proud to partner with the CRA to help deliver outstanding value to its members.”

The MenuCalc product offers two unique solutions for restaurants.  With the Web do-it-yourself Plan, users license MenuCalc’s online application for unlimited use and independently perform their nutrition analysis, assisted by training and customer support provided by MenuCalc’s expert staff.  With the Registered Dietitian Plan, MenuCalc’s registered dietitians perform the analysis, contact ingredient suppliers and assure compliance of all locations under menu labeling bills.  Both plans generate instant results that can be customized and exported into programs like Microsoft Word and Excel.  Completed nutrition data can easily be printed, emailed and shared via brochures, menus and Web sites.

In addition, MenuCalc offers Consultancy Services for all restaurants that wish to benefit from their expertise in labeling and menu display compliance (FDA labeling certified individuals are on staff), nutrition analysis and ingredient projects beyond the paid plan. The consultancy rate is $90 an hour and does not include the CRA member discount.

Restaurants that have signed up for MenuCalc’s nutrition analysis include San Francisco-based Specialty’s Café & Bakery, San Mateo -based Peninsula Coffee Roaster & Deli and Florida-based Asian Chao (owned by Food Systems Unlimited).  Bouahong Vongmany, marketing manager of Food Systems Unlimited’s 39 restaurants nation-wide, said she chose MenuCalc because of outstanding customer service. “The team takes care of the entire process, responds instantly to our questions and has qualified Registered Dietitians on staff,” she said.  “They are much more efficient and reasonably-priced than the other options we explored, such as laboratories and third-party consultants.”

 

About the California Restaurant Association

The California Restaurant Association is the definitive voice of the California restaurant and hospitality industry and has served to protect and promote its success since 1906. The restaurant industry is one of the largest private employers in California, representing more than 1.4 million jobs. Restaurants produce more than $56 billion in sales annually and generate more than $4.5 billion in sales tax for the state.

 

About MenuCalc

MenuCalc is one of two nutrition analysis applications developed by San Francisco, CA-based FoodCalc® LLC www.foodcalc.com.  Founded in 2003, FoodCalc is the food industry’s gold standard for web-based nutrition analysis solutions.  FoodCalc also built LabelCalc®, the only online tool that instantly generates accurate, up-to-date FDA-compliant nutrition facts panels for small-to-medium sized food manufacturers.  For more information, visit www.MenuCalc.com and www.LabelCalc.com; email info@MenuCalc.com or info@LabelCalc.com or call (415) 398-4628.