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Restaurant Nightmare
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This weekend, I went to a national chain restaurant that offers a gluten free menu. I ordered, got great service, ate, enjoyed the meal, and then.... as the waitress was cleaning dishes off the table, she dropped a ramekin of soy sauce, which hit the table, and actually splattered into my mouth, as well as in my hair, all over my shirt, my purse, my arms, etc. I knew it was an accident so I did not get mad at her, but the manager never even stopped by to apologize. All he did was take $8 off our $70 food tab, and I had a ruined shirt, got gluten in my mouth, had to go home instead of continuing our plans, and broke out into hives upon returning home. Any suggestions on what to do when something is accidentally ingested? Or how I could have better handled it to make them aware of how severe the situation was, although the fact that I walked out covered in food was pretty obvious in itself. What would you have done?

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I'm not sure you could have prevented an accident of that kind, nor could you recreate it.

I, personally, don't want to be a complaining customer and I'm especially grateful that I can dine in a restaurant that offers a gluten free opportunities. :)

Every time we eat out without full control, we have to accept the risk and not hold the establishment responsible for our dietary needs. It's our choice...imho B)

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I agree, I definitely was not mad about the fact that it happened, I mean, what are the odds. However, I felt like management failed to show up. If anyone else had a shirt ruined and had caused a scene, management would have rushed over and comped their entire ticket. All I wanted was for him to not walk by my table and look at me cleaning my clothing off and totally ignore me just because I was being nice about it. I worked in food service for years and I know how management should handle accidents like this. At least stop by and talk to the customer. I guess my real question is, is there anything I could have done to prevent the hives? I tipped her really well, trust me, she did a great job, and accidents happen. I am in no way mad at the server.

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I disagree. True, they didn't mean to gluten you, but they did. And ruined your shirt, purse, got you sick, ended your night. Businesses have to take responsibility for their mistakes and offer good service. I would have demanded the meal or comped or another meal at a later date on the house. Intention does not mitigate actual damages.

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I think it might have been appropriate for the restaurant to pay for the drycleaning of your shirt - maybe they thought $8 would cover that. Since it didn't affect your meal I would not expect that to be comped but they did owe you something for the shirt. I have no idea what drycleaning costs these days, being a wash 'n wear gal myselfl And if the shirt did not come clean they owed you for the shirt. They cannot deal with the soy sauce getting in your mouth. That was just a freakish thing and very unlucky for you. That's my two cents.

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The way to prevent that from happening again is to not allow gluten at your table when you dine out.

Do you have celiac or a wheat allergy? I ask because hives are a typical allergic type response which means they would be helped/prevented by benadryl. But, the autoimmune reaction from celiac isn't histimine based so benadryl wouldn't work. But, it might be worth trying.

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I would have immediately spit out the sauce. then taken a mouthful of water and spit it out again. Geez. :ph34r:

Try taking a pic of the ruined shirt and sending it to the corporate restaurant management with a dry cleaning bill receipt. I agree that they should have at least comped your entire meal, and somebody higher up the food chain should have apologized if you're going to get bathed in it :o .

As to the table "should have been all gluten free," I'm not going to dictate in a restaurant situation what kind of sauce the other people are allowed to eat at the table.... isn't that the point of restaurant dining. This could have happened to a normal person with a different sort of allergy. It could have been a glass of red wine, that would have been a lovely mess. Mmm, sulphites !

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I remember this happening at least once when I worked in food service. It was a nice cocktail dress a woman had on and I know the manager comped the meal and had the dress dry-cleaned. But this particular restaurant was known for over-comping meals at times (people knew they the slightest frown would get them some type of a discount, etc.)

And, I tell ya, those little ramekins can get some serious distance. I remember being hit with cocktail sauce from one that was dropped across the room!

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I have Celiac disease, to answer a question from above.

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The way to prevent that from happening again is to not allow gluten at your table when you dine out.

I'm assuming the poster was out with friends or family. I'd NEVER try to tell dining companions they couldn't eat gluten -- unless of course I never wanted to eat out with them again.

richard

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I think the manager was really cheap on that one. They should have at least given you a free appetizer or something on your next visit in addition to the $8 off. Make sure they try to get you to come back. Sorry that happened!

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The way to prevent that from happening again is to not allow gluten at your table when you dine out.

but, she may have been dining with others who have no gluten issues. Why else would it have been on the table?? I personally do not dictate to other diners at my table what they cannot have. That's not fair to them.

OP?? is that the case??

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Yes, I did have others at the table. I can take extreme precautions for myself but I cannot always ask every person around me to make sure that their food is gluten free, as I am not sharing with them. Yes, this was kind of a freak accident, but my point was that regardless of my celiac, if a waitress spills something all over someone, the manager is the person in charge of making sure the guest is OK. He even happened to be up front when I was leaving, held the door open, and said "Have a good night," not a word about the fact that I was covered in the sauce.

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Note to self: When eating at a restaurant, keep your mouth shut. :lol:

Sorry Dana, I don't mean to make light of your situation. I just couldn't help myself.

If the drycleaning bill comes to more than eight dollars AND works to clean your shirt, I would send them a copy of the bill. If it DOESN'T get your shirt clean, I would discretely bring the shirt in and show it to them, and while I was there I would mention casually that the incedent caused you to give up your plans for the evening because the gluten made you sick. You probably won't get any satisfaction, but if you don't do something it'll probably eat at you for a while.

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Yikes, how frustrating. I definitely think $8 was less than reasonable. As a server while going through college, I accidentally spilled a tray of sodas all over someone...their whole ticket was comped.

I have celiac and get hives as well.

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