The PJ Tatler

The Pizza Cartel Fights Obamacare Menu Mandate

One of the many regulations attached to Obamacare mandates that restaurants and food shops with more than 20 locations post an in-store menu with joy-killing calorie counts.

This includes fast-food type, delivery-oriented pizza parlors.

Domino’s Pizza claims it offers 34 million different pie combinations; Pizza Hut boasted last year it can make 2 billion different pizzas. While the FDA has suggested restaurants can institute calorie “ranges” for each pizza, one Domino’s franchise owner in Missouri guessed it would cost him $5,000 to build the boards — though over 90 percent of Domino’s business comes in over the phone or online, and so most customers never see the in-store board.

What else can we expect from government but to burden businesses with useless, costly regulations that make it harder to function? Most pizza-parlor customers won’t even see these calorie-count menus.

“You can’t possibly fit all the iterations of pizza on a typical menu board like you can for burgers, for example,” Lynn Liddle, executive vice president of communications for Domino’s, said in testimony before Congress in June. And Liddle told Fox News that Domino’s already provides nutritional information voluntarily and has done so for 10 years.

“I think what we’re doing is the right thing for our consumers and for the small business owners, so they do not have to pay for a big static menu board that won’t help the consumer anyway,” said Liddle, who also represents the American Pizza Community — a consortium including Pizza Hut, Little Caesars and Papa John’s now lobbying to relax the rules under proposed legislation.

A bill introduced in April, The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015, would allow stores that primarily deliver their food, rather than serving to foot traffic, to post their information on-line or in a mobile app. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) introduced the bill.

“This is commonsense legislation that provides access to caloric information in a practical and flexible manner by clarifying, not significantly altering, this complicated regulation,” said Rodgers in June.

Rogers said the regulations on restaurants are 400 pages long. 400 PAGES LONG.

But a kerfuffle has broken-out among other restaurants and fast food outlets that aren’t the beneficiaries of the new legislation.

Not everyone sees the need to deliver aid to the pizza franchises. Karen Raskopf, chief communications officer at Dunkin’ Brands, which oversees Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins franchises, says the uniform labeling provisions are fair and no one should be exempt. Their stores already are instituting the labeling to meet the old December 2015 deadline, she said in June. Their natural competitors would be convenience stores that sell breakfast and lunch items.

“Congress decided that restaurant type foods should bear calorie labeling, regardless of where they are sold. In the interest of creating a level playing field for these types of foods, we emphatically agree.”

Wow, way to capitulate. These folks should work to get this requirement off their back as well.