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Best Way To Deal With Servers?

restaurants eating out

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23 replies to this topic

#16 squirmingitch

 
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Posted 16 November 2013 - 07:26 PM

annajazz, Your question was how do we deal with the server? The first thing wrong with your question is that you seem to think the server is the only person you have to worry about. That's the first mistake. You have to worry about every single person who works at that restaurant & enters the kitchen. You not only have to worry about the chef & other cooks who are on duty while you're there but the chef & other cooks who took the shift prior or even the day prior. There are 1001 ways to get cc'd in a restaurant. 

gluten-free Lover (Colleen) was not being insensitive in the least! She was trying to help you & teach you. If helping & teaching is insensitive then count me insensitive also. Colleen was being caring & trying to protect you. It was insensitive of you to throw that back in her face!

 

I have worked in restaurants (some of them very upper crust) & been back there in the kitchen. I know what goes on back there & it isn't pretty! It is disgusting even when one does not have to be gluten-free or does not have severe allergies to foods. Employees putting their fingers in foods & taking bites b/c they are hungry & don't have time to eat or just "feel" like tasting this or that. I have seen butter come back from tables that got scraped into a big bowl & then used in the mashed potatoes or to fry eggs in. No, they aren't supposed to do these things but sister, if you think for 1 minute that stuff doesn't go on then you need to think again. Spoons or spatulas dropped on the floor, picked up & used; maybe they got wiped off on a filthy apron. I could go on & on with what goes on in the kitchen alone.

And then there's what goes on outside the kitchen that you can see if you observe long enough. Wait staff putting their fingers in drink glasses to pick them up 4 or 5 at the time to clear a table & then turn around & come right back out of the kitchen with their fingers on the rim of YOUR drink. How many times pre gluten-free did my hubs & I find lipstick on our glasses? It may have gone through the dishwasher but there was still lipstick on them when we got our drinks served in them. Silverware with fingerprints on it or dried food particles on it. What is laying on my plate beneath the food that is piled on it? I can't see it so I don't know.

Your life changed forever the day you were dx'd with celiac disease. Please wake up & realize that fact. You can not safely do the things you used to do. None of us are happy about that but we deal with it & are thankful we don't have some disease there is no treatment for. Annajazz, please realize I'm truly only saying this for your good. Eating out now is very serious business & you need to realize just how serious it is & how easily you can get cc'd. Eating out is playing Russian Roulette every single time. 

The others have given you great tips for dealing with the eating out thing. Call ahead & explain you have to bring your own food & you will find most restaurants agreeable. Eat before you go. Have a drink & enjoy the company. Treat yourself with something special to eat when you get home. Carry snacks always!!!!! But please don't think you only have to worry about the server or the ingredients list on a particular BBQ sauce. There are 1001 ways to get cc'd.


  • 2

Self diagnosed dh Sept. 2011~~~ confirmed dx July 18, 2012
Gluten free Dec. 2011
Soy free Dec. 2011
Hubs self diagnosed dh March 30, 2012
Hubs gluten free March 30, 2012

Summer 2013 We both have added back a little soy which is near unavoidable & we are doing okay with that small amount.

 


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#17 JustCricket

 
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Posted 19 November 2013 - 07:48 PM

I was a server, and occasionally got asked questions like this. We served an international population, too, and needed to be mindful of vegetarianism, and such. 

 

This is how I normally handle it, where ever I go. I will ask the server or cashier, when they have a moment, something like, "I'm sorry, I know you're busy, but I was wondering if you could help me figure out if I can have ___. You see, I can no longer eat anything with wheat or gluten." You might also call the manager or ask to speak with the manager, who would have access to their ingredients lists. 

 

However, if you use an approach like that, and still get a bad response, it's the server, not you and not your dietary restrictions, that are the problem.


  • 0

Initial suspicion of IBS. Horrible illness, led me to try Low FODMAPs diet. After not having gluten for 3 weeks and seeming to get better, and being tempted by chocolate chip cookies, I had about 2, and ended up very ill again. 

 

Went to GI doc for initial appointment, scheduled endoscopy and colonoscopy, but didn't follow through, due to lack of funds.

 

Gluten-free (with occasional mishaps) since 7/17/13.

 

Daughter was tested 11/16/13 - awaiting results.


#18 NoGlutenCooties

 
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Posted 20 November 2013 - 06:09 AM

I think the bottom line is that you can never be 100% safe eating out at a restaurant.  But there are many, relatively simple things you can do to make it much safer.  Should you eat out all the time, no - but anyone who gives a hoot about their health shouldn't eat out all the time - celiac or no celiac.  But the reality is, is that sometimes it can't be avoided and sometimes it's just something you want to do on occasion.  There are ways to make it a safer, enjoyable experience.


  • 1

Age: 42

Positive Bloodtest: Oct 1, 2013

Gluten-free since: Oct 2, 2013

Celiac confirmed by Biopsy: Oct 29, 2013


#19 d33dee1988

 
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Posted 21 November 2013 - 09:57 AM

I got diagnosed with celiac disease about two years ago. In the beginning, it's difficult to give up basic things like going out to eat on a regular basis. The truth is that eating in most restaurants can be an unpleasant experience if you just show up expecting the staff to competent & accommodating. I hate to say it, but my general rule of thumb is to give people very little credit. I used to waitress for several years before I was diagnosed. From my experience, the opportunity for cross contamination and mixing up plates/orders is extremely high in most restaurant kitchens. It's generally a busy, fast paced environment. People are often operating in a mode that's just "go go go" without a lot of thought or consideration happening. Additionally, they aren't necessarily educated about the ingredients included in each dish since half the time it comes pre-made, frozen, or out of a giant bucket. (Nasty I know.)

 

 

 I generally try to avoid eating in restaurants that do not have gluten free menus WITH separate prep areas. Occasionally I end up making a concession (usually at the behest of some work, family, or social obligation.) In those instances, I would recommend calling ahead and asking to speak with a manager. When you arrive at the restaurant, ask for the manager again and explain that you called ahead. They will usually hook you up with a good server if you've already proven yourself a high-maintenance patron. On top of that, make it known that you are a GOOD tipper if there is a specific place that you like to frequent. We can't spend all our time worrying about coming off as neurotic or difficult, though I admit it's hard. My best advice is to make the extra work worth their while. 

 

Chain restaurants can sometimes be the safest option. I've had really good experiences at Uno's, Outback, and so-so experiences at PF Changs. (I can't tell if I got sick from Changs because it's just kind of gross or because it was glutened. Other times it's been fine.) I've had several good experiences at high-end restaurants WITHOUT gluten free menus. I believe this is because there tends to be less traffic and the chefs will sometimes come out and talk to you directly.

 

Avoid the Green Turtle and any other restaurant that has a "gluten free" menu with a clause about their staff "not knowing the intricacies of celiac disease." (That clause is down right offensive, IMO and those types of menus are deceptive/should probably be outlawed.)

 

I know it's a bummer because it becomes automatic as time goes on. I've learned to love cooking at home!


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#20 Coconutkris

 
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Posted 23 November 2013 - 08:24 PM

Well, I hardly believe they have to be responsible for our well being, but on the other hand I can't understand why it is so hard for them to ask the cook if they add wheat to any of their dishes. I'm talking about a mom and pop restaurant, not a chain restaurant where no one know whats really in anything. I chose a Mexican reason solely because this one does not serve a lot of flour containing anything other then tortillas.

I mainly posted here to ask how people cope with these instances of having people not believe/indifferent to something that would make one very sick.

 

It's coping, I'm trying to cope. I really did not post intending for people to give me a lecture on how I'm leading myself open to cc, I understand the risk. But I refuse to allow this intolerance to keep me lock inside at my own kitchen for the rest of my life. I just want some advise on dealing with this. I'm very shy and hate having to tell people I can't have gluten as is. Your reply was very insensitive. :'( 

Hi Anna,

 

I'm extremely sensitive too, but I just think they were trying to explain that eating out is risky, regardless of what the server does...

 

I just was recently diagnosed with Celiac, though I've been wheat free for years, and am dealing with this issue too.  I have eaten out almost daily for the last 4 years because I am always on the go... I live in a pretty upscale area with lots of health-conscious people and organic healthy restaurants but even at these places people give me looks when I ask-  I feel like most people just do not understand what Celiac Disease is- it isn't the same as someone with a sensitivity- one crumb and you could be screwed!  I am trying to sort out what I am going to do for food/eating...it seems like the only safe thing is to make all your food in your own safe gluten free kitchen.  Getting a smoothie or a juice seems like it is likely safe...but anything else worries me.  I recently got lunch from a place that has a gluten-free menu. I was very clear with the server.  Well- a few bites into my food and I realize it isn't the typical gluten-free crust I get when I eat at this place...I call back the server- yep, they made a mistake and I just was glutened..lesson, it isn't even safe to eat at a place that has a specified gluten-free menu!

Another less from another restaurant- they have a separate gluten-free menu with things like gluten free pasta and gluten-free pizza. I ask, are your gluten-free pizzas cooked on the same surface as the wheat ones?  They went to find out and the answer was yes. So, that pizza is NOT gluten-free, it is wheat-free and there is a BIG difference.  Sigh. 

 

Such a bummer.  Being social is seeming incredibly tricky...people just don't get that you can't eat anything and everything like they can.  People think it is a choice, or you are being picky....ugh...hello, my life and well-being are determined by every meal!

 

I don't have much advice, but you are definitely not alone in this whole eating-out dilemma.  


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#21 squirmingitch

 
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Posted 24 November 2013 - 10:49 AM

Hi Anna,

 

I'm extremely sensitive too, but I just think they were trying to explain that eating out is risky, regardless of what the server does...

 

I just was recently diagnosed with Celiac, though I've been wheat free for years, and am dealing with this issue too.  I have eaten out almost daily for the last 4 years because I am always on the go... I live in a pretty upscale area with lots of health-conscious people and organic healthy restaurants but even at these places people give me looks when I ask-  I feel like most people just do not understand what Celiac Disease is- it isn't the same as someone with a sensitivity- one crumb and you could be screwed!  I am trying to sort out what I am going to do for food/eating...it seems like the only safe thing is to make all your food in your own safe gluten free kitchen.  Getting a smoothie or a juice seems like it is likely safe...but anything else worries me.  I recently got lunch from a place that has a gluten-free menu. I was very clear with the server.  Well- a few bites into my food and I realize it isn't the typical gluten-free crust I get when I eat at this place...I call back the server- yep, they made a mistake and I just was glutened..lesson, it isn't even safe to eat at a place that has a specified gluten-free menu!

Another less from another restaurant- they have a separate gluten-free menu with things like gluten free pasta and gluten-free pizza. I ask, are your gluten-free pizzas cooked on the same surface as the wheat ones?  They went to find out and the answer was yes. So, that pizza is NOT gluten-free, it is wheat-free and there is a BIG difference.  Sigh. 

 

Such a bummer.  Being social is seeming incredibly tricky...people just don't get that you can't eat anything and everything like they can.  People think it is a choice, or you are being picky....ugh...hello, my life and well-being are determined by every meal!

 

I don't have much advice, but you are definitely not alone in this whole eating-out dilemma.  

I am sooooo glad you "get it" Coconutkris! We are responsible for our own health & can't rely on anyone else to take care of it for us. We have to protect ourselves! As to social; take it as an opportunity to gently educate those who have no clue. You actually might save a life by alerting someone to the possibility they may have celiac disease but were clueless as to the symptoms. Most of all, we have to learn to be strong & self advocate. Stand your ground & you'll be fine. 


  • 0

Self diagnosed dh Sept. 2011~~~ confirmed dx July 18, 2012
Gluten free Dec. 2011
Soy free Dec. 2011
Hubs self diagnosed dh March 30, 2012
Hubs gluten free March 30, 2012

Summer 2013 We both have added back a little soy which is near unavoidable & we are doing okay with that small amount.

 


#22 IrishHeart

 
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Posted 24 November 2013 - 11:26 AM

.  I recently got lunch from a place that has a gluten-free menu. I was very clear with the server.  Well- a few bites into my food and I realize it isn't the typical gluten-free crust I get when I eat at this place...I call back the server- yep, they made a mistake and I just was glutened..lesson, it isn't even safe to eat at a place that has a specified gluten-free menu!

Another less from another restaurant- they have a separate gluten-free menu with things like gluten free pasta and gluten-free pizza. I ask, are your gluten-free pizzas cooked on the same surface as the wheat ones?  They went to find out and the answer was yes. So, that pizza is NOT gluten-free, it is wheat-free and there is a BIG difference.  Sigh. 

 

 

 

Just posted this on another thread, but it seems to be relevant to this one, too. Forgive the old "cut and paste" ...I'm lazy today. :D

Here goes.

 

A restaurant that boasts a "gluten free menu" does not guarantee safety for people with diagnosed celiac disease.

 

Once I see HOW and WHERE the food is being prepped in some kitchens and the surly/dismissive attitude of the waitstaff regarding gluten free items,

 

I have determined many times that the only safe gluten free thing I could eat in the place....is the menu itself.  <_< 


  • 1

"Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way we cope with it makes the difference." Virginia Satir

"The strongest of all warriors are these two - time and patience." Leo Tolstoy

"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else" Booker T. Washington

“If idiots could fly, the sky would be like an airport.”― Laura Davenport 

"Do or do not. There is no try. "-  Yoda.

"LTES"  Gem 2014

 

Misdiagnosed for 25+ years; Finally Diagnosed with Celiac  11/01/10.  Double DQ2 genes. This thing tried to kill me. I view Celiac as a fire breathing dragon --and I have run my sword right through his throat.
I. Win. bliss-smiley-emoticon.gif


#23 powerofpositivethinking

 
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Posted 24 November 2013 - 03:17 PM

I can't remember exact wording, and someone please jump in if you do, but it was something to the effect of, "I'm on a medically necessary or doctor directed diet, and I am unable to have gluten because of celiac disease."

 

Dennis said that using those words tends to make others take it seriously rather than thinking you're just a picky eater.

 

 

I'm too new to have any tips about eating out but this issue is addressed today at theglutensummit.com.

Listen to the presentation by Melinda Dennis. She is speaking on this very topic and has some suggestions.


  • 0

Diagnosed with celiac disease, but my fat malabsoption, EPI and Vitamin K deficiency have finally cleared themselves up do to the help from Creon!

Thankful for all the help I've received from members on this board!

Happy to have answers  :) 


#24 IrishHeart

 
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Posted 24 November 2013 - 03:43 PM

I can't remember exact wording, and someone please jump in if you do, but it was something to the effect of, "I'm on a medically necessary or doctor directed diet, and I am unable to have gluten because of celiac disease."

 

 

 

 It's almost what I say.

 

"I have Celiac disease and I cannot have any gluten. Not a speck It makes me very sick and almost killed me.  Do you know what gluten is, hon?"

 

is s/he says OH yes!....we go from there.

 

I never say "gluten allergy" because that is not what we suffer.


  • 0

"Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way we cope with it makes the difference." Virginia Satir

"The strongest of all warriors are these two - time and patience." Leo Tolstoy

"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else" Booker T. Washington

“If idiots could fly, the sky would be like an airport.”― Laura Davenport 

"Do or do not. There is no try. "-  Yoda.

"LTES"  Gem 2014

 

Misdiagnosed for 25+ years; Finally Diagnosed with Celiac  11/01/10.  Double DQ2 genes. This thing tried to kill me. I view Celiac as a fire breathing dragon --and I have run my sword right through his throat.
I. Win. bliss-smiley-emoticon.gif






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