By Liljia Polo-Richards
Allergy Companions completely understand that eating out with allergies can be a stressful experience, so we have created a “dining out with allergies guide” on our website to help you feel more comfortable.
Some of you might already be experienced allergy diners, so this guide might simply be a refresher. If you feel I have missed any key points, please feel free to drop us a message.
For those of you who are not experienced at dining out with an allergy or coeliac disease, here are a few tips to make the process that little bit easier for you:
- Do your research – whether you’ve found a recommendation on Allergy Companions, or a Facebook group or have simply found a place you like the look of. Understand their offering, get a feel for the place.
- Check their online menu and if you’d like to have some more information on their food offering and allergy menu, give them a ring.
- When you call a food venue, try to avoid busy times so they have the time to talk to you and answer any queries you may have.
- Ask to speak to the manager or someone who can competently answer all your questions. Listen to your gut instinct at all times, if you don’t get a good feel for the place while on the phone… chances are that you will probably not have a great experience dining there either!
- If you are happy with the way your conversation went, and the information the venue was able to give you, then you might want to go ahead and book a table. Feel free to double check they have understood everything you have discussed, to make sure they are clear on your requirements and what you have discussed.
- Ask the restaurant (especially if an independent) if it would be easier for you and them to pre-order your dishes. Some venues are incredibly good at catering for people with food allergies, and it actually makes their life easier to know what you and your party are having, so they can be extra sure everything will be safely made for you.
- Before your meal, it might be an idea to call the venue to remind them of your dietary requirements… just in case there is someone new working or the usual chef is not around that day.
- On the day of your meal, be sure to remind the person who greets you that you have an allergy or coeliac disease, so they know to take extra care that day, and perhaps send someone more senior to serve your table. If you are ever unsure of the person serving you, ask to speak to the manager.
- Be confident and never be afraid to clarify things. If, at any point, during your meal you are not sure you have been served safe food, please make sure to clarify this with the person serving you, the manager or the chef. It is your right to feel comfortable with what you are eating, so you must not feel embarrassed to ask questions. It is better for you to ask questions than for the meal to end up badly.
- Don’t be afraid to leave if you don’t feel happy with the way you are being looked after or made to feel. You are there to enjoy a safe meal, remember.
- Always bring your medicines with you… as you never know when and if you need them!
- Enjoy your meal… if all the boxes are being ticked by the venue 🙌
- Leave a review on Allergy Companions and share your experience with other diners, so they know what to expect. Sharing is caring ❤️
I hope you have found this guide to eating out with allergies. If you have any comments or feedback, please feel free to “get in touch”!