It is the responsibility of the restaurant or food business to take into consideration the specific needs of their customer base. You need to prepare for patrons to come in who have allergies of varying severity, and you need the correct information readily available for them if needed.
Know the common food allergies that restaurants need to consider to keep customers healthy and your business in good standing.
The Common Allergies
While some allergies are more prevalent than others, it’s still good practice to know what to expect from any given customer. The common allergies include:
- Tree nuts
- Dairy Products
How You Can Accommodate Patrons
You cannot have an extensive menu that offers up every alternative to allergies or dietary restrictions, but you can still help customers get the food that best serves their needs. Accommodating patrons can take several forms, from large changes to small conveniences.
Have Ingredients Readily Available
The most basic way to prevent customers from ingesting harmful allergens is to have a list of all the food you have to offer and a list of the ingredients used to make each dish. While this does not necessarily tailor the food to the customer’s needs, it does give them valuable information about what is and is not safe to eat. They can still enjoy the food of your establishment while avoiding what may put their safety at risk.
Have Reasonable Alternatives
No one is expecting every restaurant to have a selection for every allergy. If you notice a trend in your customer base of common allergies specific to your food style, then consider having a separate selection of food to prepare. In bakeshops, it’s common to run into people with gluten allergies. In this circumstance, knowing how to offer gluten-free alternatives is beneficial.
Have Proper Training and Preparation
If you do decide that it’s viable to offer alternatives, you must know how to properly and safely prepare those meals. Have employees go through proper training about cross-contamination when it comes to allergens. This includes storage as well as keeping the allergy-free ingredients apart from the rest of your selection. Failing to do so can inadvertently put allergens in the allergy-free food.
Know Your Responsibility
When trying to deal with the common allergies restaurants need to consider, it’s your responsibility to provide guests with the necessary information to keep them safe. It’s up to the individual to disclose their allergies, but once they do, you need to provide them with accurate information about what is in your food. Not having this knowledge available can lead to dissatisfied customers, and inaccurate information can mean an ER visit.