Jamie Oliver has confirmed to BigHospitality that his Jamie’s Italian restaurant chain will soon be introducing calorie information on menus across its 15 sites.
Heeding advice issued by the Department of Health, which has taken over control of nutritional labelling from the Food Standards Agency, Jamie’s Italian is now working on publishing the calorie content of its dishes on its menus.
The announcement comes just months after Health Secretary Andrew Lansley threatened to make nutritional labelling on menus mandatory for the restaurant industry, in a bid to tackle rising obesity levels in the UK.
Speaking in an exclusive interview to BigHospitality, Oliver said all restaurant chains over a certain size should be adopting the idea.
“If you’ve got over 20 or 30 outlets you should be giving your customers nutritional information. Any signposting that can help the public make better choices is brilliant,” he said.
“Yes it’s a drag, it costs money and it’s a pain in the arse, but I think if you’re a certain size and robust enough it’s called public service. We’ve just done a whole load of work on Jamie’s Italian because we’re big enough and we can afford to.”
Unfeasible for independents
However he added that the notion was not feasible for small independent restaurants like his latest creation, Barbecoa, which is due to open at One New Change on 3 November.
“It’s not viable in places like this where the menus are changing everyday,” he said.
Earlier this year the Conservative party announced plans to promote the display of consistent nutritional information in restaurants with more than 15 outlets.
It is thought that The Real Greek is currently the only restaurant chain in the UK to display nutritional content on its menus, although many others do display information on their websites.
A spokesperson for Oliver added: “Jamie is keen to be transparent about nutritional information for food at Jamie’s Italian but the precise mechanics and the timeline are still to be decided. It’s a “watch this space” for the moment.”
Jamie's Italian, operated by managing director Simon Blagden, recently acquired its 19th UK site in Portsmouth. It is set to open in Birmingham on 8 November, and will shortly unveil new restaurants in Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester plus its first overseas opening in Dubai.
Earlier this week BigHospitality visited Barbecoa at One New Change for a sneak preview and interview with Jamie Oliver and his partner Adam Perry Lang. To watch the video of our visit, check BigHospitality on Wednesday 27 October.