Food Allergies, Sensitivities & Dietary Restrictions: Challenges & Opportunities for Food Service
Whether you operate a fine dining establishment or an institutional food service, your success comes down to one thing: providing your customers with good food and friendly service.
Some of the patrons you serve are going to be people with food allergies or food intolerances. Sure, they can pose a special challenge. But as many restaurant professionals have discovered, addressing the needs of people with food allergies also offers a great opportunity for fine-tuning customer service and building repeat business.
There's no better time than now to make sure you have procedures in place for addressing food allergies and intolerances. Some experts believe these problems are on the rise. Certainly there's growing awareness about adverse reactions to food, from allergies to shellfish, eggs, and nuts to illnesses such as Celiac disease, sensitivity to wheat gluten.
By incorporating allergy management into your existing food safety and first aid practices, you can serve customers with food allergies and intolerances with confidence. You'll also win a loyal following among customers with special food needs. As, Ken Toong, the director of one of the nation's largest university dining services, which serves 40,000 meals a day, put it, "People with food allergies may be a small percentage, but they're still our customers. If you address their needs and gain their trust, they keep them coming back."
In the following pages you'll find helpful tips and strategies for putting an effective food allergy plan in place.