Friday, April 17, 2009

whaddaya hidin'

According to Sean Braisted at Nashville for the 21st Century, Nashville's Metro Council has a bill that would require restaurants to post nutritional information for their food. As is to be expected, restuarants and their flunkies are fighting the bill, arguing that it would be too unwieldy and/or expensive and/or . . .

I've worked in restaurants for years and expect I will continue to do so, and I've considered this issue before. I don't really dwell on the idea, but I am sometimes surprised that more people don't seem interested in nutrition data in restaurants. Sure, if there's an actual need, allergies for example, they will ask appropriate questions, but people don't very often ask beyond that.

Fighting this sort of bill is a lose/lose situation for restaurants in my opinion. As restaurateurs we should have nothing to hide, and we should be willing to admit what we've done to your food. As people we should be willing to share the information because it's the right thing to do.

But there are considerations, things that should not give our representatives and lobbyists reason to fight the bill but should give us all a reason to work together. You don't want an extra fifteen feet of drive through signage, and you don't want to look for the walking fingers on the front of your suddenly book thick menu.

I would personally want the information available if I owned or managed a restaurant, but I don't know how I'd post it. How big would a menu need to be to contain all the info the customers should be privy to? How would you put that on a drive through menu? Would it be good enough to have this info available online, or could we just have printouts for customers?

So, I'm a cook, and Metro Council bill or not I'll tell you what I put in your food. Of course considering what the politicians from my end of the state cook up on a regular basis, nutrition info is only so important here in the east. We're more likely to get bills that ban things that make the menu sound gay or potentially gay.