That New York calorie law that was supposed to only target big chain restaurants? It’s sweeping up some smaller businesses, too:
A few restaurants appeared to be caught completely off guard by the calorie rules, especially the homegrown fast-food chains that pepper New York City’s outer boroughs.
“This has been an absolute nightmare,” said Enrique Almela, director of operations at Singas Famous Pizza, which has 17 restaurants, most in the borough of Queens.
The menu rule only applies to restaurants that serve standardized portion sizes and have 15 or more locations nationwide, a distinction that was intended to target fast-food giants. But in practice, the low threshold has swept up little-known outfits like Singas Famous Pizza and other local franchises that have never done nutritional testing before.
Almela spoke with The Associated Press from his car Wednesday as he rushed sample pizzas to a food laboratory. He said the calorie tests for his 35 different pizza combinations will cost $10,000, and he doubts they will produce accurate data.
“I may put 15 pepperoni on a pie. Someone else may put 12. We don’t measure the amount of cheese we put on,” he said. “If you put up roundabout numbers, how does that help anyone?”
The deadline also looked problematic for a unique class of New York City eateries: loosely affiliated, largely immigrant-owned restaurants that share the same name and sometimes the same suppliers, but operate independently.
Afgan Paper & Food Products, which distributes food and packaging materials to many of the eateries, said it was scrambling to get them calorie info.
“The stores are all calling and asking for information. We don’t have it,” said Mariam Mashriqi, a receptionist at the company.
In the meantime, Mashriqi said, some owners were paying for the laboratory tests themselves.
“These are small stores. They are barely making a profit,” she said.
$10,000 out of a guy’s pocket just to tell customers with dubious precision that pizza isn’t health food. Nice job, New York.
[Via Hit and Run.]