The restaurant says plans to display the calorie content of foods on the menu should be postponed until the industry recovers from the pandemic.
This move can add extra cost when companies can’t afford it.
The new rules will affect restaurants, cafes and takeaways that employ more than 250 people and will be applied from April 2022.
This change is part of the UK Government’s anti-obesity measures.
Nisha Katona, founder of Mowgli Street Food, said that with 11 restaurants, making changes by next spring would mean a significant investment.
“It’s a few thousand pounds and a few weeks of work,” she says. “It’s a shame that someone has to pay another cost now.”
However, she supports the idea that people should be more interested in the calories they burn when eating out, and says her restaurant is already considering displaying calories on the menu. ..
Nevertheless, she believes it is important for the minister to stick to the idea of applying the new rules only to large corporations like her.
“Personally, I find it worth it. That’s what my business manages, but if they’re forced to do it, the little restaurant will end,” she said. say.
“The aim is to enable people to choose healthier foods for themselves and their families, both at restaurants and at home,” said Minister of Public Health Joe Churchill, who announced the plan.
The government said it would not affect small independent businesses that could make changes difficult to implement.
Kate Nichols, CEO of the trade group UK Hospitality, said the industry shares the government’s goal of improving public health, but timing can turn out to be difficult.
“The majority of operators are in survival mode,” she says.
“The government should consider delaying the enforcement of the law, rather than adding new costs to companies in the sector that are most hit by the pandemic and are at risk of prolonging economic recovery and corporate investment and job creation capabilities. Request “
Nick Collins, CEO of Loungers, who runs the Lounge and Cozy Club chain of over 140 cafe bars, agrees.
“The timing is really scary,” he says. He has just been able to fully resume, saying that businesses like him are focused on recovery and staff, and it will take time to implement such changes.
“I support the goal of helping our customers eat healthier,” he says. “But I want to get it back.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health acknowledged the impact of the new coronavirus on the hospitality industry and “worked with businesses and local governments to ensure that regulations on calorie labeling outside the home are enforced as smoothly as possible.” I promised that.
Some high street chains have already published information about the calories of foods in their menus, such as Wetherspoons pubs and real Greek restaurants.
But others argue that the nature of their restaurant makes these changes even more expensive.
Robin Hutson, chairman of The Pig Hotel and Restaurant, says his business cooks with fresh ingredients that change every day, and the plan shows “a lack of rude understanding from the government.” I believe.
He has eight venues in southern England and has a staff of about 950.
“High street chains never change menus, but our menus can change between lunch and dinner,” he explains.
“Do I need to hire someone to keep the menu updated? That’s just more financial pressure on the already struggling sector.”
Moreover, he does not consider it a fundamental role for restaurants to discuss.
“It’s up to you what you eat and drink,” he says. “We all have to take responsibility for ourselves.”
The government estimates that the NHS will cost £ 6.1 billion annually due to overweight and obesity-related illnesses, and data show that nearly two-thirds of UK adults are overweight or obese. It is shown.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health also noted the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on overweight people: “It is more important than ever to help people across the country achieve healthy weight. “.