Food allergies are much more than a trend and I believe restaurants should be catering to more food allergy customers these days. Don’t you?
According to some data I’ve read, people tend to go out to eat in smaller groups (average 3-4 people). It’s estimated that around 15 million people have some type of food allergy. When you go out to eat with a smaller group, you tend to be able to voice your opinions more on where you’d like to eat (or not eat) than you would with a larger group. If someone in your group has a food allergy, it would be easier for them to go to a restaurant that they know is safe for them to eat at. Getting restaurants to cater to food allergies not only help the customers, but it could also improve their profits. With more and more people not going into restaurants that can’t sufficiently cater to their food allergy needs, the more these restaurants will start suffering while the number of people with food allergies grows. We need to help teach restaurant owners that it’s worth investing and working towards being food allergy friendly.
Here’s B at a restaurant in New Orleans, The Gumbo Pot. We were driving through on our way back from Gulf Shores and my husband had never been to New Orleans. We decided to stop there for lunch and after trying to do a quick search in the car for a place to eat, I didn’t come up with much as far as anything food allergy friendly. We ended up eating here and while the food was delicious, Beau couldn’t eat a single thing and was stuck with jarred baby food we had in the diaper bag. The waitress brought out bread for him since he couldn’t eat anything else, yet she couldn’t tell us for certain that it was egg free because it came from another bakery. Fail… She was trying to be nice, but she surely wasn’t informed about food allergies or what foods were safe or not. Go figure :(
I’ve been doing research and trying to come up with unique ways to do just that. Do you have any ideas? Have you seen or heard of anything that has worked? We need to join together and make sure these improvements happen, but what does a restaurant catering to food allergies really entail? Well, for starters, every employee in the business needs to be well trained. There need to be separate food prep areas, utensils, cooking surfaces, etc. Menus should be clearly labeled with all ingredients for food allergies. Chefs need to be aware of what certain foods are made of and what is coming from their suppliers. Taking orders needs to be done by well trained servers and in a way that it can’t be skipped over or not known by the cooks.
What ways can you think of to make this process easy, efficient, budget friendly, and helpful to the food allergy consumer?
You can tell B wasn’t too thrilled about a last minute decision to eat lunch at a Pie Five where he couldn’t eat their food and we didn’t have much available for him to snack on. Parenting fail. Restaurant fail (Which is unfortunate because we LOVE this place!).