Hey restaurants, know your food!

Normally I plan my ‘outdoor’ meals ahead of time by checking online restaurant menus and nutrition charts. At the very least, I’ll try and see if there is a gluten free menu and then I’ll just make a wild on-the-fly decision right there in the booth. But you can’t always plan for everything. Sometimes you’ve forgotten to pack run out of your on-the-go snacks, and sometimes you just want more than a bite. I don’t have the best phone (contract’s up in May!); sometimes it likes to shut off on its own, and other times I’ll have to do the dreaded ‘battery pull’ because opening a web page freezes up the *expletive* device. As a result I try to avoid surfing the net with my phone, which means I can’t access online restaurant menus when I’m out unless I’m with somebody. This means, restaurant employees, I rely on you.

(Flickr / mattfour)

(Flickr / mattfour)

So, when I ask, ‘what on your menu does not have gluten?’ I really would appreciate the correct response. (Side note: This is not a post about being ‘glutened’ or, as I like to call it, ‘snipered.’) I have been witness to incredibly rushed answers to this question, with each one being a resounding and abrupt, ‘no-we-don’t-have-anything-gluten-free.’

This has become my newest eye-twitch-inducing pet peeve. There is no hesitation that comes with this answer. No pensive moment to actually mentally run through the menu. Just a ‘no.’ But hey, aren’t those a few salads I see in the appetizers section? Is that not a fruit cup? And…what’s that? Grilled chicken with veggies?

I suppose the ‘safe’ answer to my question is ‘no,’ but it’s certainly not truthful. And, restaurant employees, let’s say your dismissive answer is motivated by a true, underlying fear of cross contamination (not ignorance of what gluten actually is), would it kill you to say, ‘____ was not made with gluten, but it may have come into contact with it’?

I don’t think so.

So, the takeaway for today?

  • Know your menu.
  • Know how you’re making your food.
  • Know your customers can (usually) double-check your answer once they have access to data by browsing the restaurant’s website.

Or maybe I should just get a better phone.

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4 Comments

Filed under Gluten free shock

4 responses to “Hey restaurants, know your food!

  1. Biggest pet peeve is when they dismiss it and just say “no” to avoid the chance of cross-contamination. I live in a small town and there isn’t much to offer out here, therefore we don’t go out too often but when we do we stick to two restaurants that I know will cater to my requests! I don’t have an allergy to gluten or dairy, just a personal choice for me. More restaurants need to really start taking note of the many dietary needs out there! Good luck and NEVER hesitate to ask how things are cooked – it’s your body and you have a right to know what goes in it!

    • AMEN to all of that! No, I never back down. I find asking a second person usually helps, but I really shouldn’t have to! It would be nice if they said they didn’t know and then proceeded to direct me to someone else, but I guess it’s ‘easier’ to dismiss the question entirely. Alternatively, I’ve had the complete opposite experience, too, where the servers will go out of their way to make sure everything is alright — before, during, and after the meal!

      • Good for you! Yes, I have had the flip side of the coin too. Love those people, extra large tip for them! I used to be a server years ago, don’t they understand that the more you please a customer the more generous they are when it comes to bill paying time?! 🙂

      • Exactly! And it makes for repeat customers!

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