Food allergies pose serious health risks. In America, 30,000 people per year visit the emergency room due to whole-body food allergy reactions and a few hundred of those victims die.
Your restaurant can’t afford not to prioritize food allergy awareness, training and implementation.
Ignorance Is a Serious Risk
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food allergies in children doubled between 1997 and 2011. Food allergies are becoming more prevalent every year, but still, surveys show that between one-quarter and one-third of restaurant workers have no training on how to prevent and respond to food allergy reactions.
If the ingredients of menu items aren’t disclosed, dishes aren’t handled properly or patrons are not fully informed about what they are eating, there is a case for liability against the restaurant. Staying ignorant about how food allergies affect your guests will only put your business at risk.
It’s a Branding Statement
Given the growing need for allergy-friendly options, diners are searching for restaurants that take food allergies seriously. For many diners, an allergic reaction doesn’t involve physical discomfort only — it’s life or death.
When restaurants make sure their diners are protected and still provided plenty of options, they make it clear that their customers’ health and well-being is paramount. Not only is this the correct business decision, given the risks involved with food allergies, it’s also a useful marketing technique. Many diners choose restaurants based on this factor alone.
By taking on the challenge of creating a food-allergy-friendly menu, restaurant owners are staying ahead of the curve. You’re investing in your bottom line, but you’re also being a good citizen. What does this proactive effort look like?
First, make sure you have an updated list of all ingredients you use in your kitchen. Know where every item comes from. If anything is created off-site, such as sauces, have records of their labels for your diners to look at if need be.
Next, prioritize cross-contact training for your entire staff. Cross contact happens when food that is allergy-safe comes into contact with food that isn’t, whether through a failing of a sanitation procedure or through the preparation process. For many diners, even a small amount of an allergen can trigger a reaction. It’s essential to use separate preparation surfaces and have all workers wash their hands before plating or transporting the food.
Everyone in the restaurant, no matter if they are directly involved in food preparation or not, should have allergen training. Front-of-house staff should be coached on spotting the signs of an allergic reaction and know when to call emergency responders.
Invest in Quality Equipment
For thorough preparation, be sure to use separate mixers, trays and equipment for the allergy-free food your restaurant produces. Get in touch with Stratton Sales and find out how we can help support your business with quality equipment at the best price. With special financing offers, we make it easy for your restaurant to cater to guests with food allergies.