Policy Seminars

Phillip Leslie
Stanford University & NBER

Topic: Calorie Posting in Chain Restaurants

Date/Place/Time: Friday, October 1, 2010 at 1:30PM-2:50PM
UCLA Anderson Cornell Hall D313

We study the impact of mandatory calorie posting on consumers’ purchase decisions, using detailed

data from Starbucks. We find that average calories per transaction falls by 6%. The effect is almost

entirely related to changes in consumers’ food choices—there is almost no change in purchases of beverage

calories. There is no impact on Starbucks profit on average, and for the subset of stores located close to

their competitor Dunkin Donuts, the effect of calorie posting is actually to increase Starbucks revenue.

Survey evidence and analysis of commuters suggest the mechanism for the effect is a combination of learning and salience.

Link to paper (if available): Click here