The Food Standards Agency (FSA) wants to see nutrition information on menus to improve people's diets and reduce the number of people in need of obesity treatment.
A range of catering outlets will introduce calorie labelling in the summer in a move designed to determine how best to provide information in a clear and effective manner.
Over 50 catering businesses have already met with the FSA, which presented them with research into consumers' views on nutrition information in restaurants, pubs, sandwich shops and coffee bars.
The research found that many consumers already use nutrition information to help them make healthy food choices, and that people tended to regard the provision of such information in restaurants as an obvious step.
Tim Smith, chief executive of the FSA, commented: "As a family man, I know how important it is to have clear information in order to make decisions about the food we, our children and anyone else eat when we go out.
"Providing calorie information is supported by our consumer research...and can only be a good thing for all consumers."
The British Heart Foundation has welcomed the move but also wants to see information on salt and saturated fat, too much of which can contribute to heart disease and obesity.
Independent advice on private healthcare