Restaurant Challenges for those with Food Allergies

There are so many challenges to eating in a restaurant for those with food allergies that many choose not to do it at all. With proper planning and communication, though, the experience can be rewarding and safe. If you choose a restaurant close to home, call in advance. Talk directly to the chef and explain the food allergies. If you have any concerns that the chef is not taking this seriously, hang up and look elsewhere. If you feel comfortable after speaking to the chef, arrange a time to visit the restaurant. Choose a slow time so that you will get the one-on-one attention you need. Tell the server or hostess about the food allergies when you arrive. Let them know that the chef is expecting you. Ask questions and re-confirm the special arrangements needed. Thank the chef, server and manager after the meal for the successful dining out experience.

If you are traveling or you want to try a chain restaurant, check their website first to get ingredient information. When you arrive at the restaurant, ask to speak to the manager. Explain the food allergies and the possible outcome if the person comes in contact with certain foods. Request that the food preparer put on new gloves and clean the area where the food will be prepared. If possible, watch as the food is being prepared. Be certain to speak up if, for example, the preparer puts the burger on a bun and then takes it off quickly and hands it to the wheat allergic person. Here is a list of many chain restaurants where you can find ingredient information:

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