10 October 2012

Why Restaurants need Certified Food Allergy Consultants

What's in it for you?: REVENUE, raving fans, reduced liability, confidence of staff and guest.

I dine out, a lot, rarely alone. I will bring 2 to 10 people with me to dine at almost every dining experience and I have food allergies- 9 of them, to be exact. 

I started my food allergy consulting practice, because I nearly confined myself to my own kitchen after getting sick one too many times in restaurants. My friends, family, clients and social network always ask me, "Where CAN you eat?" My point- I'd dine at your restaurant and bring my social network with me a lot more if I could be treated with respect, safety and ease along with great quality, full flavored foods. 

By the way, there are 150 Million people just like me in the world. By creating a safe environment for them to eat at, opens up a whole new group of consumers who will visit your restaurants and regularly, and bring their friends. 

My biggest challenge today dealing with restaurant owners, CEO's, chefs, cooks, and general managers, think they don't have a problem---- I'm going to tell you right now, if you think you don't, you are missing a giant gap in a growing market. 

Until a restaurant is certified and trained to handle allergens and intolerance and understands them, no doctor recommends eating out.   

Going "foodal" friendly creates an increase in revenue and raving fans. All good things. 

The following is a true story: 

On Oct 9, 2012, at 6:07 PM, Food Allergy Gal wrote:

Hello Barbara, 

I love coming to BLANK and bringing friends to your establishment. I haven't met a person yet who hasn't loved being there. I came in a few weeks ago with a group. The entertainment was great and plan to return for a Saturday show this month. We wanted to stay longer but because of my food allergies we were only able to order one thing on the menu, therefore had to go elsewhere for food options.  

I was wondering how often BLANK is encountering this issue (Food Allergic Guest) and if you have any plans to incorporate any training/certification for staff or do any special gluten or allergen friendly menus?

On Oct 10, 2012, at 11:55 AM, Barbara wrote:
Hi Lara
Thank you for the note.
I am surprised to hear this from you. We have a huge menu that includes both vegan and non vegan options.
We have every type of protein. What are your allergies?
We, in fact, never get this comment.
We strive to have something for everyone.
Chief Operating Officer
On Oct 10, 2012, at 1:20 PM, Food Allergy Gal wrote:

 I am equally as surprised to hear your response as none of those things were even mentioned to me- ever. In fact in general the staff acted like I was the first person they'd ever met with food allergies.
I am allergic to:
Diary, Walnuts, Peanut, Salmon, Citrus, Banana, Cranberry, Vanilla, Sesame Seeds, & Ginger
I feel so bad asking for so many modifications when I go out- but at the same time I know I have successfully been able to eat great meals at home and with my commercial restaurant clients. 
Some major areas of concern (just trying to give to helpful feedback) 
1. Our server didn't write down my food allergens, I was so unsure it wouldn't be communicated that I wrote them down for her. 
2.They brought one set of sweet potato fries to the table and then brought a second and said- "oh, these are the allergen friendly fries." It was a bit scary, because if I had been sitting there at the time, I might have eaten the other fires, as they didn't say anything when they dropped off the first set. 3. We ordered 2 other items but the server came back and said nothing else was allergen friendly and they could not accommodate us.  

On Oct 10, 2012, at 1:26 PM, Barbara wrote:
Do you know who your server was?
Did you have a menu?

We do not use peanut oil at all because of food allergies.
We have salads, fries, steaks, chicken, shrimp, so many more items that are not part of your allergy list that you could have eaten quite easily at BLANK. I, also, am 100% dairy allergic and eat daily at BLANK.

I am sorry you had a bad experience, I appreciate the feedback.


While she apologizes to me for having a bad experience she still doesn't acknowledge there is a disconnect between what she believes is going on and what is really happening. (THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME, not just at this restaurant but many others)

What to do differently: 

  1. Develop a policy and plan for Food Allergic/Food Intolerant guest.
  2. Consider a fixed menu for FoodAls (food allergic guests)- or use our recommended software to have an ingredient guide that lets the diner know their options. 
  3. Certify kitchen and staff members.  
Food Allergy/Gluten Free experts are set apart from a dietitian  nutritionist. While we deeply value their opinion and work with them often, we are not only focusing just on the science of food  but the experience of eating out and the flavor of food. 
You can list calorie counts all day long but that has no significant value to a "foodal" or "gluten free, celiac" customer. 

Contact the experts at LaraHolland, Certified Food Allergy Consultancy to help your food service business today. 


  1. With the new E U allergen labelling laws coming out in December, food businesses will need to look at their systems and processes to tackle this new legislation. Many training centres let you know what the ne legislation is and many charge up to £1000 per day to audit and help you implement systems and procedure to help your food business comply! To find out how to implement these new changes into your business visit cost effectively and without all the mumbo jumbo visit. www.allergenlabels.com

  2. Valuable Stuff! The way of describing restaurant services is absolutely appreciated by restaurant owners. For unpretentious atmosphere you can check out this Restaurant Management Software which is very cost effective.

  3. This is definitely an issue that effects consumers as well as proprietors.

  4. This is an issue I feel will become more relevant as consumer spending habits change.

  5. I'm owner of a restaurant and it's important for me to know what my customers think about my food.I use this software in my business
    Please give me andarstanding on how I can use it to check my food on some allargic effect
    Please email me at



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