No popular authors found.

Categories

No categories found.


Join Celiac.com's forum / message board and get your questions answered! Our forum has nearly 1 MILLION POSTS, and over 62,000 MEMBERS just waiting to help you with any questions about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. We'll see you there!






Follow / Share


  FOLLOW US:
Twitter Facebook Google Plus RSS Podcast Email  Get Email Alerts

SHARE:

Popular Articles

No popular articles found.
Celiac.com Sponsors:

P.F. Chang's Temporarily Dodges a Gluten-free Bullet

Celiac.com 08/05/2015 - Should restaurants be required to provide gluten-free food at the same prices it charges for regular gluten-containing items? That question is at the heart of a lawsuit brought by a woman who claims P.F. Chang's has violated federal anti-discrimination laws by charging more for gluten-free items. A federal judge has now "tentatively" dismissed that lawsuit.

P.F. Chang's China Bistro. Photo: Wikimedia Commons--InjustifiableP.F. Chang's had asked the judge in February to dismiss Anna Marie Phillips' class action lawsuit, claiming that her celiac disease does not make her a disabled person under the Americans with Disabilities Act. At that time, lawyers for Chang's urged U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte to dismiss the suit to prevent what they termed a 'negative impact' upon restaurant industry as a whole.

Phillips originally sued P.F. Chang's in a California state court in December, but the case was later moved to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. According to the motion, the dismissal rests largely on the failure of the plaintiff "to plausibly allege that she is disabled under any applicable statute since her condition constitutes only a minimal limitation on the major life activity of eating."

In words that may raise the eyebrows of many people impacted by celiac disease, the judge goes on to say that the plaintiff can "still consume all gluten-free foods. No authority supports plaintiff's baseless position that she is disabled." P.F. Chang's also maintained that, because it charges the same price to all customers of its gluten-free items, it is charging based on the food cost, not adding a surcharge based on the gluten-free status of the customer, and is thus not discriminating on the basis of disability.

The class action suit states that because a gluten-free diet is medically necessary for individuals with celiac disease, gluten-free patrons have no choice but to order at the higher price.

Phillips brought suit on behalf of persons with celiac disease or gluten intolerance who ordered items from P.F. Chang's gluten-free menu in California within four years prior to the suit.

In an interesting legal wrinkle, the CEO of the Celiac Disease Foundation said in a February Legal Newsline article that it did not agree with Phillips' claims.

"Celiac Disease Foundation recognizes that restaurants bear a financial burden for the employee training and other accommodations that are required to serve meals that are safe for those with celiac disease," Marilyn G. Geller said.

P.F. Chang's cited the article in its motion to dismiss.

What do you think? If P.F. Chang's provide gluten-free food in accordance with the law, must it provide the food at the same price as its non-gluten-free items, or can it charge more to reflect its costs?

Read more at: Legalnewsline.com

Celiac.com welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).



Related Articles




Spread The Word





25 Responses:

 
dappy
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
10 Aug 2015 7:23:02 AM PST
Once any training and assigned areas is done and in place, there is nothing else. Prices should be the same or "minimally" higher.

 
Katherine
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
18 Aug 2015 8:06:05 AM PST
It costs more for a company to cater to gluten free, Staff training, separate cooking area, gluten free (in P.F. Chang's case it is Tamari or gluten free soy sauce) and I don't mind paying for this. If your talking a restaurant that just leaves out the croutons to make you a version of gluten free then that is a problem. You're paying more for less. But when a restaurant really caters to my needs, I don't mind paying more.

 
Barry Curtis
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
02 Mar 2016 10:07:09 AM PST
All gluten free products cost more at the store, why should eating out be different? I agree that there are added costs to making gluten free foods and don't mind paying them! Just appreciate having that option as my wife has had to stop going to many of our old food stops who don't offer gluten free at all!

 
Becky
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
10 Aug 2015 7:56:37 AM PST
Its about time people are taking action. Anyway, I am glad that they have a gluten free menu at all.

 
Brenda
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
10 Aug 2015 9:01:21 AM PST
I do not agree with Ms. Phillips. There are higher costs to establishments to offer gluten free foods. And, celiac diners DO have an option of whether or not to dine out or in most of the time. Those who travel a lot get caught, but, if they are traveling for work their expenses are usually covered. I am happy to pay more to ensure that my food is not cross contaminated and that I can enjoy a meal without having to worry about a possible cross contamination! I am totally willing to pay extra to make sure my servers, chefs, etc. are well trained against cross-contamination!

 
Shane
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
17 Aug 2015 10:06:01 AM PST
Agreed!

 
Susan Swearingen
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
10 Aug 2015 10:28:58 AM PST
I have celiac disease. I am grateful that restaurants provide GF options. Since the food often costs more, restaurants should be allowed to charge more.

 
Namklak
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
10 Aug 2015 11:26:37 AM PST
GF ingredients generally cost more, so restaurants should charge more. Maybe what should be happening is CD groups should go after fed and state gov't wheat subsidies - does a poison for so many need fed gov't subsidies with your tax dollars?

 
BMN
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
10 Aug 2015 12:41:22 PM PST
I am so glad this case was at least tentatively dismissed. I understand the frustrations of having to may higher costs for gluten-free products in general, but I am so thankful for restaurants like P.F. Chang's that allows those with celiac to enjoy safely eating out with friends and family. Kudos to Celiac Disease Foundation for highlighting that it's simply more expensive for restaurants to offer a celiac safe gluten-free option. I continue to support P.F. Changs and hope the chain understands that most of those with celiac are grateful to have restaurants that understand their needs and offer them safe dining out options.

 
Joellen
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
10 Aug 2015 1:17:10 PM PST
I feel they have a profit to make and should not have to provide expensive items for a "same price" as market products. There are examples, however, of only switching to GF soy to make the item gluten free, that certainly do not call for a price increase for the GF item.

 
Cheryl Hickey
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
10 Aug 2015 1:45:37 PM PST
None of us like having to pay more for gluten free food but it sure beats being sick for days. If a restaurant takes the time to properly train their employees to prevent this, it is worth the cost. More restaurants could benefit by doing this and increase their customer base.

 
Steve
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
10 Aug 2015 2:43:55 PM PST
I for one am happy about this. PF takes great care to offer this and I believe there is extra expense. It's one of the few restaurants where I feel reasonably safe. I wish there was more choices in eating and I was bummed to see litigation involved.

 
Connie
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
10 Aug 2015 3:23:37 PM PST
Her case is ridiculous. Every store and restaurant charges more for gluten free. Their cost is more also.

 
Eddy
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
10 Aug 2015 4:41:51 PM PST
Maybe if the judge were celiac or had to eat gluten free and was forced to pay higher prices for eating in a GF meal and still run the risk of being cross-contaminated the judge's decision might be different. Both foods from restaurants and pre-packaged GF foods from grocery stores seem to have the same motto: Half the product for twice the price!

 
Shar
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
10 Aug 2015 5:13:37 PM PST
I think on a practical basis it needs to be dismissed. I disagree with the judges statement that it is minimal but fear there will be fewer gluten free options if this woman persists. I would be inclined to no longer offer gluten free options if it were my restaurant and I was the victim of this woman. California is drowning it's small businesses in paperwork and BS in general. Everyone should have their own business for a few years. They would be more practical. If you have a business in California you are probably breaking a law, even if you are unaware of it.

 
Hilary
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
10 Aug 2015 11:49:41 PM PST
Thanks Jefferson. I agree with the restaurant. The training and separate prep and cooking space is something to be considered. Also gluten free bread stuffs are more expensive to buy even as a individual consumer, it would be the same for a restaurant.
As for the disability, I don't agree with that either. A diabetic isn't disabled because it has to be careful what they eat.

 
Ben
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
11 Aug 2015 7:33:39 AM PST
I would have to agree with Marilyn Geller. I am a celiac diagnosed over 20 years ago, but recognize that businesses are in business to make money. To ask them to eat the additional cost means that they are passing that costs onto the gluten meal offerings, which may drive the majority of their customers elsewhere OR the may elect to remove the gluten-free offerings from their menu; or worse, create short cuts to save money that then allows gluten to be present in the "gluten-free" meal. Having lived through the advances of the last 20 years and remembering how hard (next to impossible in some cases) it was to eat out 20 years ago, I will gladly pay the additional costs and frequent those restaurant establishments that truly cater to the gluten-free needs of celiacs. I think this is a case of be careful what you wish for.

 
Sheri
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
11 Aug 2015 3:40:13 PM PST
What a pathetic lawsuit happy society too many Americans live in. I too have celiac disease and no one forces me to visit a restaurant and not eat at home. So if I visit a restaurant and say they charge more money for organic foods or locally sourced or gluten free I can either stay or leave. By the way the grocery stores I shop at also charge more for gluten free breads, chips, and most items gluten free. They are also usually much smaller sizes for the higher cost. But you people who are lawsuit happy already know this.

 
Lori
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
15 Aug 2015 4:07:51 AM PST
I am sad to see so many of you say you're ok to pay more simply because it has the GF tag on it. There are things put there that are upcharged just because they put the GF tag on it and no I don't agree or appreciate that. The other day we went to one of my now favorite restaurants Mojo's Grill here in Ocala, we discovered they had a good size GF menu. They had a dedicated fryer and all. When I asked what the price change for the wings was for and if they were different in any way they explained that that were exactly the same except they had to go in the dedicated fryer. For that I had to pay the dollar or two up charge. Yes I grateful to have the opportunity to eat out with friends and family but why should I be penalized just because of the tag GF? As far as the training and such, restaurants have to train their staff in many other issues and are not claiming an upcharge due to that!

 
admin
( Author)
said this on
15 Aug 2015 6:07:28 PM PST
You have the choice of not eating there if you don't approve of the extra charge. Businesses do incur extra costs when offering such menus, and should be able to pass those along to customers.

 
Carol

said this on
16 Aug 2015 11:44:31 AM PST
I agree completely. I was so disgusted to read about this lawsuit. I love P.F. Chang's and, as a person who has celiac disease, was thrilled to see what an expansive gluten free menu they had. So few restaurants accommodate those of us with celiac disease and I am more than grateful for those restaurants that do. All people like Anna Marie Phillips do is encourage restaurants to stop offering gluten free options completely and shame on her for that. I was totally disgusted when I first read about this lawsuit and I hope the case is thrown out. Anna Marie Phillips should be ashamed of herself.

 
K2
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
17 Aug 2015 5:54:56 AM PST
Gluten-free food cost more, goes bad more quickly and requires special preparation to avoid contamination. Of course the restaurants should be able to charge more to recover their added costs for the food and the special training to their staff.

 
PhilPT
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
17 Aug 2015 11:15:28 AM PST
I will pay more for GF food. Until there are enough restaurants that offer it, there will be no price competition. Same with the suppliers. Also there is an initial cost to get started in offering GF that will go down in time.

 
admin
( Author)
said this on
17 Aug 2015 5:12:34 PM PST
Apparently part of the extra cost includes creating a war chest for your lawyers...

 
Beverly Lemley
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
22 Oct 2015 10:23:57 AM PST
What a sure way for all restaurants to NOT even attempt to serve GF! Why bother, especially with the extra training, cost of gloves, the constant considerations of preventing cross contamination, as well as keeping up with any changes suppliers may make? Add to that the threat of a lawsuit, and you betcha, restaurants are gonna stop bothering. Nobody forces anyone to eat out! It's a choice, just as choosing to spend more in general for a nice dinner out or just eating a Wendy's potato ~ which has been a "lifeboat" more than once! Thanks, PF Chang's for serving GF and keeping the GF needs front and foremost! I think I'll go have a delicious GF meal at PF Chang's soon!




Rate this article and leave a comment:
Rating: * Poor Excellent
Your Name *: Email (private) *: