The overall goals of this project are to develop, evaluate, and prepare to disseminate an online "Menu Labeling" training program for widespread adoption within the restaurant industry. The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, SEC. 4205 ("Menu Labeling Legislation") requires that all restaurants with 20 or more locations provide nutrition information on the menus and through other avenues. For this Menu Labeling legislation to fulfill its objectives of helping eradicate obesity, prevent or control of nutrition-related diseases, and improve public health, it is imperative that the nutrition information provided by restaurants be accurate and up-to-date, and that the public trust the disclosed nutrient information. The objective of the Phase I feasibility study is to develop and evaluate the content for the first three of an eventual six- module online "Menu Labeling" training program for restaurant staff. This training program will provide a systematic approach to equip restaurants to 1) increase the accuracy of the nutrition information they provide to consumers as required by the "Menu Labeling Legislation," 2) properly address consumers questions related to the nutrition information, and 3) educate staff on basic nutrition principles.
Specific aims of this Phase I project include (1) developing preliminary content and graphics for three modules, (2) obtaining feedback about these preliminary versions from focus groups, (3) updating and revising the program, including producing an online version of the course, and (4) testing the ability of the online course to improve restaurant employee's knowledge about nutrition and working with the Menu Labeling legislation to increase its effectiveness in improving public health. Plans for Phase II are to expand the course by adding more modules, testing all the modules in greater depth, enhancing the web platform to include registration and certification processes, and translating the course into Spanish and Chinese.
Restaurant Menu Labeling legislation will soon be implemented as part of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This project will enhance the usefulness of Menu Labeling and enable restaurants to better serve the public by providing much-needed training of the restaurant staff, leading to more accurate nutrition information and better enabling the staff to address diners'questions about the published nutrition information.