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NYC businesses brace for soda regulations
“But I guess the law is the law, right?” said Fazio, who put up an explanatory sign Coca-Cola Co. provided. The Atlanta-based soda giant said in a statement that helping small businesses prepare was “the responsible thing to do.”
Managers at rapper Jay-Z’s 40-40 Club were busy this week making sure they wouldn’t get in hot water over carafes of soda and other sweet mixers that accompany bottle service, spokeswoman Lauren Menache said. The carafes are slightly bigger than 16 ounces; city lawyers have indicated such containers should pass muster.
Dunkin’ Donuts shops, meanwhile, have set out colorful fliers explaining the complex rules surrounding coffee.
Lots of lattes are exempt because they’re more than half milk. And it’s OK for customers to load their large and extra-large coffees with all the sugar or sweet flavoring they want. But the chain will no longer do it for them, for fear of running over the limit of roughly three calories per ounce.
Starbucks, meanwhile, believes most of its products won’t be affected and isn’t making any immediate changes, spokeswoman Linda Mills said.
Even some businesses that specialize in big sodas aren’t making moves — yet — in light of the lawsuit and the city’s pledge not to impose fines until June. Until then, violations would just spur a notice.
At Dallas BBQ, “Texas-size” 20-ounce sodas are staying for now, said Eric Levine, one of the directors.
Switching to 16 ounces would mean ordering roughly 10,000 new glasses for the New York-based company’s 10 locations, including a Times Square spot that seats 1,000 people. And customers wouldn’t feel they were getting the same deal: double the soda for little more than the price of the 10-ounce size, Levine said.
The rule’s effects may be particularly pronounced at movie theaters, where belly-buster sodas are as familiar as coming attractions. Big beverages also account for about 10 percent of profits, according to court papers.
“People just like that comfort, while they’re sitting there — to make sure they have enough to drink for the whole movie,” Russell Levinson, the general manager of Movieworld, mused this week.
The family-owned theater sells soda in 20-ounce bottles and 44-, 32-, 22-, and 12-ounce cups. The theater is looking at getting 16-ounce cups, considering two-drink and refill specials and retooling all its drink-and-popcorn combination offers, Levinson said.
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