Awareness in the Food Service Industry


It was another one of those nights tonight…

You know, the whole, hey let’s try and go out and grab something for dinner.  For those of you who can do this effortlessly, and without any kind of thought, I envy you…dearly. For us, it is a lovely game of first, finding somewhere safe, and then second, trying to find somewhere that my uber picky Bear will eat from.

After a long debate and thought process, we finally settled on somewhere.  As usual, once we were there and getting ready to order, I went through our typical “we can NOT have anything with gluten, so I need to know what your ingredients are” speech.    And this was met with the typical “Oh is this for an allergy” question.  I begrudgingly say yes, not wanting to get into how it is NOT an allergy (that is another post for another day).  But then, to my dismay, our server said they would have to go and ask someone else, and they would get back to us about what was safe.   It took quite awhile, and finally someone else came out to talk to us, with a large book that they told me contained all the items they had and what was in each item.  And I am NOT kidding when I say that this binder had to be 3 or 4 inches thick.  At this point, we explained that we did not feel safe enough to continue our experience, thanked the establishment, left a small tip for our server ( I used to waitress, so I feel that it is only right to leave a little something for taking up some time at a table) and wound up back home eating leftovers.

But here is my point, I just feel like if you work in an establishment where food is served, you should be knowledgeable enough to explain to patrons what is or is not in your products.  Not just for those with gluten issues or food allergies, but for anyone who asks.  People are becoming more and more aware of what they put in their bodies, and typically most like to know what they are eating.  I just find it amazing that in most cases the servers or counter staff typically have no clue what they serve.  Even worse, as in our case, the management did not even know what was in the products they were serving.  Um…what?  While I understand that this may be a paycheck for you, this could be a life threatening mistake for someone else.  I am not at all trying to downplay the need for us with food issues to do our homework…but it would be nice for places to start educating their staff on the make up of the their products.  Also, maybe a bit of education on the plethora of food issues that people can have.  It would be nice to walk into a restaurant and explain my situation and have it met with something more than a weird look.  A bit of extra effort on the part of restaurants could do wonders for their customer service, and open up their businesses to a whole new market of people who may have previously been unaware that eating there was a safe place.

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Posted on April 8, 2013, in Allergy Friendly Dining, Celiac, Food Allergies, Food Allergy Awareness, Food Intolerance, Food Labeling, Food Sensitivity, Gluten free, Rant, Reading Labels, Trials & Tribulations of Food Allergies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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