Allergies From The Other Side

By Heather Legg

I’ve often written of the intricacies of handling allergies and going out to eat at restaurants. Not only do you need to remember to speak to the waiter, check the menu and be diligent when ordering, but you have to do it with finesse to get your urgency and needs across without being rude or demanding. I recently came across an article of “Allergies from the Restaurant’s Point of View” on examiner.com.

What I found interesting about this piece and point of view, is it isn’t all that different from all the advice we hear on dining out. Some good points noted in this piece are considering the restaurant before you go. The example used is if you’re allergic to seafood, don’t go to a chowder restaurant. They can’t perform miracles, or clean out their seafood kitchen for you. Just don’t go, choose somewhere else.

Another key point (which I always suggest doing) is remember to say Thank You! Not only to waiter, but ask him to thank the kitchen staff as well. I remember recently going to an ice cream shop where they went out of their way to accommodate our needs. It really spoke highly of the business and I was sure to thank all involved. Perhaps you wan to let your tip reflect the appreciation of the service that went above and beyond.

Some other advice this writer shares is to make your reservation ahead of time and confirm your reservation and allergy needs prior to going (she suggests one week out). Speak to the hostess or manager upon arrival and let them know you’ve been in touch and what your needs and expectations are. If you have an allergy card, send it to the kitchen. Things are usually more effective in writing, “an attached allergy card helps everyone be in the know.”

Remember, too, that mistakes can happen. If your order isn’t perfect, ask to have it redone. If something is wrong that has nothing to do with your allergies, deal with it in a respectful way. As restaurants become more and more aware of allergies, modifications will become more and more standard. Use your knowledge to help broaden that awareness as well as set good examples for others with food allergies. The nicer we are, showing our appreciation, sharing our needs in a respectful fashion, the better the reputation of those with food allergies will be.

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