March 16, 2015

Calorie Count

How do we list the calorie content of our pizzas on a menu when we have 34 million different variations of pizza? -- Dominos CEO Patrick Doyle
You should've thought of that before you opened stores in the United States of America, Bucko!
It's a textbook case of a mindless and arcane regulation, of Washington bureaucrats imposing on businesses costs that will have no effect on public health. "We've been voluntarily doing menu labeling for over a decade," Mr. Doyle says. "We even have an online calorie calculator we call the 'Calo-Meter' for every possible pizza order, and it tells customers what happens if they substitute, say, sausage for mushrooms, because we strive to be very nutrition-conscious."

That isn't good enough for the feds. The Food and Drug Administration is now insisting that every one of the chain's 5,000 stores post menu boards on the wall with calorie counts. "It's crazy and it doesn't help consumers," Mr. Doyle says, because "90% of Domino's orders arrive by phone or Internet and are for delivery, so fewer than one of 10 customers will ever see these signs." The signs will cost about $2,000 at every store, and each change of menu will require new ones. That is about $10 million of extraneous costs nationwide for Domino's. Thank you, Washington.

Other than that, Mr. Doyle is having a good day when I visit him at the Domino's world-wide headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich.

I'm going to go one worse that that. If you're counting calories on your pizza order, you are doing things wrong. It's grand that they offer an online "Calo-meter" for those interested, but now that we've intruded on property rights, design accommodations, and budgets, I suggest calorie counting is an anachronism of a failed diet policy.

I think Gary Taubes put a fork in calorie counting pretty effectively, but I know there are still some adherents. Yet I don't think I'm wrong to assert that more and more diets are moving away to counting carbs, good carbs/bat carbs, fat grams -- whatever. Yet the calorie is enshrined -- mohair subsidy like -- on American menus for all times.

"A Republic No More." Mister Cost (and Dr. Franklin) nailed it.

UPDATE: I should have included this:

As for those who fret that only the rich are getting richer and upward mobility isn't possible, Mr. Doyle says they should pay more attention to what happens at Domino's. "Over 90% of our 900 franchisees started as an hourly worker in the store," he says. "Most of them started as delivery drivers at minimum wage. They work their way up. They become a manager. Then they come in, they apply to buy a store." So from earning $7 or $8 an hour, they now earn $80,000 to $100,000 by operating a franchise. Many have become millionaires. "This is absolutely a story of upward mobility in America."

That happened, umm, before they had to pony up $2000/store for calorie signage...

Food and Wine We're from the government, and here to help. Posted by John Kranz at March 16, 2015 1:43 PM

Someone who headquartered a business in Ann Arbor can't possibly be surprised by the political ideology driving a mandate like this.

Posted by: AndyN at March 16, 2015 4:40 PM

Man's got a point.

Posted by: jk at March 16, 2015 4:54 PM | What do you think? [2]