I honestly have no problem serving those with allergies at the restaurants I serve for. Honestly, I don’t. I do however, have several issues with the whole topic and society as whole these days regarding allergies. For starters, it is NOT my job to ask you about each and every allergy (in a list) that you may or may not have. That would be incredibly time consuming and really off-putting to my customers without any food allergies if I had to run down a list each and every single time I greeted a new guest. If you do in fact have a real allergy, it is YOUR responsibility to share this information with your server. I never want anyone to have a bad experience with me as their server, but I especially do not want it to be because your life was put in danger due to an allergic reaction! And when you DO tell me about your special dietary or allergy needs, please do not feel embarrassed. I wholeheartedly understand and will do everything in my power to make sure your food comes nowhere near your allergen and that you have a safe and enjoyable meal with me.
One of the other biggest issues we have as servers, is those that claim to have an allergy and then go and order something else on the menu that clearly includes their allergy. I hate to use this as an example, but those who say they cannot have any gluten seems to be all the rage these days. In doing so, it does make it hard for those with actual celiac disease to be taken seriously because of everyone jumping on the bandwagon. I have had actual customers tell me that they are gluten free at the very beginning of the visit, and then when it comes to order- they ask for gluten free penne pasta. Which, in and of itself would be completely fine, until that same person asks for the gluten free pasta with Alfredo sauce. Which is created with white flour. Which has gluten. Upon explaining this to the customer ( I try to give the benefit of the doubt to everyone…maybe she really didn’t know that Alfredo sauce had flour in it), she proceeded to still ask for the Alfredo sauce WITH the gluten free pasta with the statement that “it was okay because it was just a little gluten.” Now, I have several friends and family members with actual food allergies and even just a little of said item will cause them immense distress, swelling, and sometimes even a hospital visit.
So please, If you have food allergies… I will 100% respect that but please be up front and honest with me in the beginning and don’t try to pass off your current dietary or lifestyle fad that is going around as a legit allergy. Because trust me, we know when you’re lying. It makes your server’s head spin and just perpetuates the frustration the general population has with those with real food allergies i.e “gluten free lifestyles.”