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Kaiser Permanente Cafeteria Menu Labeling

Resources Required

Staff: The primary staff to implement this menu labeling intervention includes the Food Service Managers and cafeteria staff. About one hour of labor per week is required for cafeteria staff to change the menu boards on a daily basis. Approximately 30 minutes of staff time per week is needed to communicate with worksite employees via email, newsletters, and staff meetings about the menu labeling initiative.

Staff time for recipe development and training staff on cooking/serving methods is generally needed.   This is especially important for sites without recipes or with a culture of not always cooking to recipes or serving specified portion sizes.  

Menu labeling requires dietitians to identify recipes and conduct calorie/nutrient analysis of planned menu items:  

  • It took 2 contract registered dietitians (RD) 326 hours to verify recipes and conduct analysis of approximately 1000 recipes from the 6 hospitals in the pilot intervention (about 3 ½ hours of RD time per recipe)
  • The supervising RD spent 90 hours verifying and assisting the contract RDs.

It is estimated that it took approximately 6 weeks for analysis of 1000 recipes, but the developers recommend double this timeframe to allow for stronger quality control, including verification of the recipes and portion sizes.  

Travel to the participating sites and miscellaneous costs were estimated at $1,000 for the six participating hospitals.


Staff time to launch and manage the program, including:

  • Explaining to cafeteria staff the goals and rationale behind the program so that they can convey this to cafeteria patrons.
  • Reviewing portion sizes and nutritional information on a daily basis. During a daily huddle with staff, cafeteria manager reviews the menu for the day — ingredients, portion sizes and nutritional information. During the course of the day, the cafeteria manager verifies that standards are being followed by staff.
  • Establishing a routine system for changing the menu boards on a daily basis.


Clear, Acrylic Self-Standing Sign Holders approximately $7 each

Printing costs for large posters approximately $100 per poster

Printing costs for small menu boards — price varies

Other Costs:

  • Nutrition software licenses (cost $450 for 3 RDs)