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How Would You Handle This Situation?

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 05:09 PM

While out of town on business today, I thought I'd eat lunch at a chain restaurant that has a good chain reputation (on this board and others) for gluten-free food. Their web site has a gluten-free menu, and celiacs from my home town recommend the home-town restaurant without reservation.

With that being said, when I walked in I was met by a server who seated me. I asked for the gluten-free menu and was given the regular menu. I pointed out to the server that the menu wasn't the gluten-free one, and the server disagreed. I again asked for the gluten-free menu, and the server asked me if I had a coupon. I replied that I didn't need one to look at the gluten-free menu, and I hope they have one because I saw it on their web site. At that point the server said he'd have to ask someone else, and he left.

While waiting for the server to return I came to the realization that there was no way dining there would end well. Obviously, they get so few people asking for gluten-free that the server was oblivious to the existence of the gluten-free menu, and therefore the gluten-free protocols. That meant the kitchen may also be oblivious. Even if the server found the right menu, something would likely go wrong and I'd get glutened. So I left the restaurant and went back to work without lunch.

Being new to the gluten-free lifestyle, I'd like to know how others would have handled the situation. Would you have left? Asked for the manager? Something else? Register your opinions; I want to learn.
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Diagnosed 03/09
Gluten-free since 03/09 (and manic about it)
Looking forward to a better life since 03/09

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 05:22 PM

I'd first ask for the manager, and based on their response, make up my mind whether to stay or leave. It may be that the server was new, or just a bad server, but the rest of the staff was great. It would be helpful for the management to know if they are not meeting their customers' needs. Or, the whole place may be terrible, and you would not have felt comfortable eating there.

I see no problem with leaving though - I would rather leave than risk getting sick. I did that very recently in fact, after speaking to a manager. I wouldn't have trusted this man to make regular food, let alone the gluten free food they are known for.
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Judyin Philly

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 05:43 PM

I wouldn't have trusted this man to make regular food, let alone the gluten free food they are known for.

Laura.......... :lol: loved this
i totally agree

If the server is clueless the management should know to help educate them. of course all being done with the sweetness dripping from your mouth.
then if they all 'don't get it' it's a easy choice for me to excuse myself politely

The more you eat out the more comfortable you'll get with 'getting that feeling' if it will work.
It's been 4 years in June for me and I'm still learning.
good luck
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Judy in Southern CA



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Posted 30 April 2009 - 04:21 AM

I have frequently encountered servers that are unaware of the gluten free menu. Usually they will go ask someone else and come back with the menu and some new guidance. I don't let it discourage me, unless the server seems unwilling to learn or pay attention. It becomes a learning experience for the server, which is a good thing.

Some of my favorite servers have started out clueless, but willing to learn. Some of the worse have thought they knew a lot about gluten free.

Asking for the manager is probably the best option, as their knowledge would be crucial to a good experience.

I agree that walking out is fine too. Above all, you want to stay safe.
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Positive Bloodwork January 2007
Positive Biopsy Feb. 2007
Gluten Free since January 2007

HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 1 0201
HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 2 0303

Serologic equivalent: HLA-DQ 2,3 (Subtype 2,9)



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Posted 30 April 2009 - 11:52 AM

I honestly always ask for the manager before I am seated. I politely tell the manager my situation and ask that they inform the server and cook about my needs. 99% of the time the manager always handles my order. I then tell my waiter about my situation because I do not want to offend anyone lol. From there the manager and waiter are always helpful and understanding.
Now if I came across a manager or waiter who are rude or do not want to listen to what I am asking I will leave and never go back.
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Gluten Free going on 5 years and counting!

gluten-free is a life change and not a diet.

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