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Nur Yunlu
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Restaurant Worker / Designer / Marketing

Nobody in the food industry asked the patron if they had any food allergies when I started to work in the restaurant ten years ago. It wasn't even a thing.

One of our patrons yelled at me because every food delivered to the table had a cilantro topic on food. His reaction "What if he has a cilantro allergy." It was six years ago.

After I saw the patron's reaction, I just started asking my table if they had any allergies or dietary restrictions every time.

Some servers believe that If patrons have real allergies, they let the server know. They don't need to ask them.

Some patrons look up the ingredients of a dish on the menu instead of asking their server. The problem is not all the ingredients are listed on the menu.

Most of the time, the dish sends back to the kitchen, and they have to cook the food again without allergen ingredients. It is causing losing money for the establishment.

If the server knows the patron has an allergy and does not let the kitchen knows. Patron gets sick because of the allergen. A server can lose its job.

At some point, a server must ask allergen and deliver the information to the kitchen vital. We don't want our patrons to get sick just because we do not pay attention.

#foodservices #foodservice #firstjob #advice #myjob #aboutmyjob

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5 months ago
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Phoebe Montrie
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✨A Bartender, Who Loves Customer Service and Helping Others!!✨

Its definitely more common to be aware of them now than it was 10 years ago! If there was a dish that contained a common allergen (like shellfish 🦐 or peanuts 🥜) I'd ask in the past, especially if there were children at the table. These days a lot of menus have symbols on them to indicate if a dish is gluten or nut free etc., and I think it's helpful to have more information! But knowing the ingredients of every dish you serve is essential, because often you will get questions about specific ingredients used or about substitutions.

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Alex Smida
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Hi Nur,

The answer is simple; you don't ask a customer about his/her allergies for three fundamental reasons:

(1) Allergies are a medical condition covered by HIPAA regulations. If you tell anyone (include a cook) about any specific person's medical condition, you are then in breach of the HIPAA privacy rule. Then, how do you protect that health information that you just received. So, don't ask so that you can't divulge it. If customers have a condition of a set of conditions with potential negative health or safety risks for them, they are responsible to manage that condition, not you, although you can assist.

(2) Should on decide to ask about allergies, would you also ask by food intolerances? About religious restrictions? Food preferences? And then where does it stop? How many questions are enough questions? Would you ask customers to fill a medical and religious survey before taking their food order? Do you then ask about their mental conditions in order to assess if that allergy is real or perceived? What about conditional allergies? Of course not. Don't open this Pandora box; there is always someone who will sneak in a curve ball. So, don't engage.

(3) Allergies, intolerances, restrictions, sensitivities, indispositions, preferences and aversions are all restrictions. So, should you want to ask a question, just ask "do you have any food restriction that I need to inform the manager"? The question is neither specifically about health, religion or ethnicity so as not to offend or pry into someone's privacy. Let the customer decide to qualify the restriction. Then, the manager needs to be food allergen certified so that he/she knows what are the next steps and implications of the restrictions. When the customer disclose the information, it is no longer private and therefore no longer a protected information.

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Amber Phillips
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Front Of House Manager Bartender Server at Venice Ale House

Absolutely, ALWAYS! Asa person with celiac disease who has worked in restaurants (most positions front and back of house) for many years, I can not stress enough how important it is to avoid cross contamination. Always ask your guests. It is not an annoyance it shows them you care!

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Nenita Herrmann
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Library Media Specialist at Advanced Learning Schools

This is going beyond insane. If I had allergies, I would make sure, not by reading but by asking the server. Besides, if I had allergies, I know what foods are safe for me. Guys, the responsibility rests on the customers. Dont give servers more burden or more challenges to their job. We, as patrons, have a responsibility to ourselves first and foremost. Let us not foist or pass on that responsibility to someone else. Take peanuts, peanut oil, etc. out of the menu. Go to Asian restaurants if you crave peanut sauce.

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sy jones
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they don't get paid enough to be a doctor .

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sy jones
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the waiter /waitress has enough to do . they not a doctor to ask anybody who come to get a hamburger if they have allergy ?

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Lucas Sherry
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Head Chef at Cucciolo Osteria

I appreciate this, as a Chef I have tried to train my staff especially over the last 7 or 8 years to always ask if there are any allergens or aversions(the difference can be very important to the kitchen for cross contamination purposes) to every singe table. It takes all of 3 seconds to add that on to every guest introduction! In my last restaurant I got pushback from the Staff for asking them to do this, and reprimand from my FoH management for them feeling uncomfortable about me pushing them to do their jobs correctly for the guest's safety and satisfaction! I would also add I have a sometimes absent-minded wife and we just found out she is pregnant, it would be very easy for her to forget to mention it, or not immediately think about things she should not be eating currently and that easy question from a server may help to remind her to think more carefully about what she orders!

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cher hutcheson
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It’s commonly practiced in the UK and I’m strongly in favour of it here.

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Harry Rau
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Wokeness is everywhere, in many cases a patron won't read the menu to determine the ingredients, and put it on the Server to assume this. If I had to ask a patron if they had any food allergies, I would find a better place to work, as in a REAL RESTAURANT, not a WOKE GREASY SPOON..

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Good Bye
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I would imagine an establishment would have some kind of protection. Maybe if the cooks used peanut oil without disclosing. but I would think a person would know their allergies and order accordingly without having to have a full on discussion at each table.

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