Eat Me

A Letter To The Restaurant Industry – From A “Picky” Eater

More than 50 million Americans have food allergies. Is it outrageous to suggest that restaurants should train their staff on food allergies and which menu items may contain certain ingredients? This job is not just about refilling someone’s water or placing an order. Having standards for your employees to know what is in the salad on the menu should be a given but unfortunately, most of the time the answer is “I don’t THINK there is dairy in it.” Why not train your staff to know what is in the food they serve?

When a customer shits their brains out, gets a debilitating migraine, crashes for 4 solid hours and wakes up to the room spinning, breaks out in hives or whatever other awful things may happen after you collect their tip and they head home, they will never come to your restaurant again. They will associate their post meal reaction with your food and consider it poison. You are now officially blacklisted on one customer’s dining list. Maybe it is just one, no big deal! But I promise this number will grow.

We are not a bunch of picky asshole snobs. Guess what? We can actually see your judgemental face and hear your shit talking in the kitchen. Let me guess… “People who have restrictions should not go out to eat.”  Go fuck yourself! Are you seriously telling me that I have to forgo dinner with friends or the occasional date night or even the last minute takeout order after a long day because you can’t get your shit together? Welcome to the new age, buddy. People have allergies. It is not always a fad diet craze. When someone says no butter, for example, and you bring them their dish cooked in butter anyway, just realize that you could be seriously hurting that person. They may have to call into work the next day or spend the evening watching flashing lights as the room spins while day dreaming about drilling a hole in their skull to release pressure.

It is your job. Take people’s requests seriously or change your job position to the dish pit or try retail if you can’t be open minded to the fact that allergies and food sensitivities exist. You are in the wrong industry if you are going to be an asshole about a food modification for someone’s dietary needs.

Also, latex gloves. If you still carry latex at your restaurant, you should know that hospitals have banned latex years ago and you can find information here to educate yourself and staff on that. Latex is also a common allergy. If hospitals no longer use it, maybe it is time you consider switching.

Perhaps you want to gain a few more customers? Make a small side menu for gluten free or dairy free items so that your food allergy customers can have an option besides a side of lettuce. They will tell all their friends and possibly specifically come to your restaurant because they feel like they are not being treated like garbage and will now keep you on the rotation.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope that you will think about not discriminating your next customer who has “annoying” special requests. Treating customers with great hospitality is your job and I hope the tips flow even better now that you are a little more informed on how to treat people and that for some people, dairy or wheat may not close up their throat but could make them feel like they got hit by a semi truck while being forced to trip on shrooms.
*Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where gluten damages the small intestines. For others, gluten may not be an allergy or have as severe reactions as Celiacs but can cause an autoimmune response as it is considered an inflammatory food. For others, dairy may not be a lactose intolerant issue but an actual allergy that can cause a number of issues. For me, it causes tachycardia, vertigo, nausea, joint pain, fatigue, brain fog and sometimes other cardiac issues.

2 thoughts on “A Letter To The Restaurant Industry – From A “Picky” Eater”

  1. Allergens aside, just like, respect the fact that I might not want to eat x or y. You’re a restaurant. You are the definition of the SERVICE industry. I’m paying for your service. If it’s my money, it should be what I want, no?

    Thanks for your post, this topic irks me to no end and I agree completely with you!

  2. I’ve had difficulties with a soy intolerance. Yes, it’s an intolerance, not an allergy, but I’ll still do everything in my power to avoid it because to be perfectly honest, I don’t like sitting in the bathroom for hours on end, with liquid coming out both ends. I went to one place in my area, and they had an allergy menu, with stuff people of various allergies could eat, including celiacs, lactose intolerance, and more. Soy was not even mentioned, and they were offended that I even enquired about soy content! Well, you might guess that I had a few things to say to them, and chased it up the line to customer service in the country, etc. Because soy intolerance might be less dangerous and not fatal like a nut allergy or celiac disease, but it is an intolerance that can cause some serious discomfort! But I was told that not enough people have it to make it worth it to the company to include it. Apparently the staff couldn’t even check the ingredient lists on various aspects of what I wanted. For some reason, they lost my business *sigh*

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