In the last couple of years, food allergies became quite common. It is not unusual to meet people that are allergic to gluten or peanuts. And with the rise of food allergies, restaurants have to think about different strategies. They can work to attract people that may avoid dining out because of these allergies. In simple terms, how to become one of the allergy friendly restaurants.
But before we go into details about what you as a restaurant owner or manager can do to deal with food allergies, it is important that you understand what kind of a new market and customers you can attract by using food allergies to your advantages. If a person is allergic to some types of food, they will avoid dining out because they don’t feel safe. So if you invest a bit of time and effort to help them feel safe and secure to eat in your restaurant, not only will you create a completely new fan base for your restaurant that consists of people with food allergies, but you will also attract their friends and family since no one likes to eat alone in a restaurant. And this sounds great, doesn’t it?
If you are interested in attracting a bunch of new customers, buckle up – here come the tips you must follow.
Educate your staff
Your staff must know quite a lot of things related to the food you serve, from the exact ingredients to how the food is prepared. And that is perfectly fine. But if you want to attract people with food allergies, your restaurant staff must also know which ingredients contain different allergens. For example, if you use whey in some of your healthy recipes in your restaurant, your staff should also know that whey is a dairy product or that semolina contains gluten.
This way whenever your customers talk to your staff about their food allergies, your staff will be able to answer all questions about dishes to prevent serious health problems for your guests.
Also, train your staff to ask each and every guest whether they have any food allergies. This way, even if your guests forget to mention it, your staff can remind them.
List each ingredient
When people are allergic to some types of food, they are quickly able to see what can cause them problems. They can do it just by looking at the list of ingredients . You can even prepare special menus for anyone who mentions that they have some type of food allergy. These menus can have each and every ingredient listed. Your customers will feel a lot safer when they can see for themselves what you use to prepare the dishes. If it is necessary, double-check each and every ingredient before including them in your menu, because in this case, every error can be fatal.
Use dedicated equipment
The risk of cross-contamination skyrockets if your chefs don’t use dedicated equipment for guests with food allergies in your restaurant. When your employees have separate equipment they can use to prepare dishes for guests with food allergies, the risk of food containing allergens becomes minimal.
However, it is not always easy to have such equipment in every restaurant and that is perfectly fine. The only thing that your staff must do is clean the existing equipment before using them to cook food for guests with food allergies. For example, if you used oil to fry any food that may contain breadcrumbs (and thus gluten), be sure to wash it thoroughly and to use fresh oil for frying.
The importance of open communication cannot be stressed enough in these cases. If your staff isn’t sure about the exact ingredients or what it takes to prepare certain food, encourage them to check everything with the chef. It is always better to double-check everything than to feel sorry afterward!
The staff in allergy friendly restaurants can feel lost and confused. That’s the case because it takes a lot of effort and time to learn some basics about allergies and how to prepare food that is suitable for people who have these allergies. But once your team has enough knowledge and the right tools, you can attract a completely new customer base.
And when these new customers are happy with your service, they will bring even more new people to your restaurant. This will help you increase revenue rather quickly. Don’t ignore this huge new market. You can even include special dishes for online orders for people with food allergies. This opens so many new possibilities for your restaurant, so what are you waiting for?
If you are ready to take your business to the next level with special meals and becoming one of allergy friendly restaurants, contact
and talk to dedicated professionals that are here to help your business grow.