Big Pizza: Calorie-Count Menu Boards Make No Sense For Our Product

With the FDA still fiddling with rule changes that require chain restaurants to post calorie information for the products on their in-store menu, the country’s largest pizza chains have stopped fighting each other and banded together to fight federal regulators.

The American Pizza Community — which sounds like it could be the name of a really awesome prog-rock band — is a joint creation of Domino’s, Papa John’s, Little Caesars, Pizza Hut and others. It formed in January to make the argument to the folks in Washington that the world of pizza is too expansive to fit into the strict requirements of the menu boards.

The group argues that since pizzas generally come in multiple sizes and with a wide variety of toppings, it would require menu boards that would be larger than the menu.

The FDA proposal does allow restaurants to provide a calorie range for customizable items, but there could be a calorie swing of more than a thousand calories for people who load up on extra cheese and meats.

The Pizza Community also takes issue with the FDA requirement to list calories for an entire pie. According to the group, people only eat around 2.1 slices on average.

Reiterating arguments made last year by Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle, the crust coalition claims that 90% of its orders are placed online or over the phone, meaning an overwhelming majority of customers would never even see the menu boards.

A D.C.-area Domino’s franchisee tells the Washington Post that she has had menu boards up in 10 of her Maryland stores and discerned no change in buying habits.

“I don’t see pizza counts dropping, and I don’t see salads running out the door,” she tells the Washington Post.

A rep for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has supported many menu labeling initiatives, tells the Post that there is nothing special about the pizza business.

“We heard the same types of arguments from the whole restaurant industry when they were opposing menu labeling in the early days,” she explains. “I don’t know what’s up with the pizza industry.”

Pizza chains band together over proposed menu-labeling plan [Washington Post]