How To Reduce Food Intolerance Incidents At Your Restaurant

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A study found that around 34% of people with food allergies had experienced an allergic reaction at a restaurant. A third of those had been through the same episode at least twice on separate occasions. Allergic reactions may be caused by the failure of clients to communicate their allergies to the staff, but it can also happen that restaurants overlook certain standards regarding food intolerances and allergies. As a restaurant owner or manager, you can reduce the number of incidents on-site or eliminate the hazard of customers falling ill due to food intolerance. Doing so will enhance the restaurant’s image, translating to increased sales.

Inform Clients Of Possible Allergens In Food Being Served

People with allergies will visit your restaurant. Therefore, the best recourse is to inform guests of what you are serving. While clients must also state their allergies to staff, it is vital that the restaurant be clear in publishing data and nutritional values of food that is offered. Ensure that menus both online and offline are accurate, informing patrons what meals are made of.

To this end, staff must be well trained in explaining how dishes are prepared and their ingredients. Understanding basic food allergy triggers help a lot. An estimated 98% of all food reactions are caused by one of the ingredients in the ‘Big-8’ list: milk, soybeans, tree nuts, eggs, peanuts, shellfish, wheat, and fish. Above all, staff must know what to do if a client falls ill or experiences a reaction due to an intolerance to a food ingredient.

Minimize Risk By Dedicating Space And Equipment

Another way to reduce the risk of food intolerance incidents is to use dedicated areas and food equipment for clients with allergies. If this is not possible, make sure that pots, pans, plates, and cutlery are cleaned thoroughly before preparing and serving food for those with allergies. For example, if your restaurant is making rice flour in house, do not use the same containers to mash up nuts or soya beans without cleaning bowls or equipment thoroughly. Ideally, use entirely separate measuring, grinding, and storing equipment for your flour to avoid any risk of cross-contamination: this will prevent serious reactions from guests with food intolerances.

Full cleaning must also be done to remove allergens on surfaces. Wash, rinse, sanitize, and air dry equipment, utensils, and surfaces to eliminate allergens and reduce allergen transfer. Pre-scraping food from surface areas before cleaning assists in getting rid of allergens. Use wipes with alcohol to sanitize surfaces.

Use Technology To Access Information

Often, it is difficult to keep track of information by just reading and memorizing details. Staff must be able to access ingredient and allergen data on mobile devices such as tablets or phones so that they can provide complete and accurate information to the guests. When clients are assured that the meals they are consuming are allergy-free, trust is created and built, resulting in repeat visits.

Tech can also update management and staff of food products that may be identified as causes for allergies. Updated information can be directly downloaded on mobile devices from reliable sources such as the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Data should be available not only on menus but also on the restaurant’s website so that customers can check which ingredients they should avoid.

Safety is of the utmost importance in the business of serving food. By ensuring that food allergens in meals and dishes are clearly communicated to clients, dedicating equipment and cooking areas to allergen-free food, and using tech to provide accurate information, the risks of allergies are reduced. A responsible and trustworthy restaurant will always seek to improve its dining experience, and this will lead to increased patronage.

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