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MallysMama

Bearer Of Bad News

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Guest Mtndog
Because of complaining PF changs in Boston now has a seperate area just for gluten free food prep. It all depends on how dedicated the place is to accomadating their customers.

Exactly- I am VERY sensitive and I DO eat out occasionally. Ironically, there is only ONE place and ONE location (not an Outback) which is PROUD of their gluten-free menu that has consistently made me sick (2 times). I KNOW that eating out is risky, but I think we have every right to call a corporate office if something goes askew. The first time I got sick I called and spoke to the assisteant manager and she was VERY helpful so I tried again. Sick. Tried to deal with the manager first- he was not only no help, but he acted rudely. So yes, I went to corporate. and i'm glad because it resulted in the head chef going back into this location and re-tranining all staff on preparing gluten-free.

If we are paying money for something that is supposed to be gluten-free, then we should be able to give honest feedback.

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Susan,

I think your right on and very reasonable.

Me too....

My opinion is that restaurants do not have to say "this is gluten free" but they can indicate on their menu something which can state "we can't guarantee that cc won't be present, but to the best of our knowlege these selections are best for those on a gluten-free diet" or something like that.

There is a halfway point here.

Well its almost more than halfway because if they actually understand CC you are automatically in a better position.

if they state seperate preperation areas tha't even better.

I'm also happy to have an allegern free prep area, even though I can eat peanuts and seafood I'd rather forgo the peanuts etc. and just have an allergen free food.

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On the complaining issue, I don't feel we have a right to complain if we get glutened unless we can easily see how it happened; i.e., server was terrible and making mistakes all over the place.

Otherwise, we have no right to complain. They put a disclaimer on their menus stating that there is no way to guarantee gluten free and that we eat there at our own risk. I agree with this.

Complaining just ruins it for others. It's not the same things as complaining because your steak is too raw, or you never got your diet coke. Those are legitimate complaints.

But complaining about getting glutened is ridiculous unless you can tell with the naked eye that they are being negligent. Because the fact is, even the most dedicated staff can still gluten someone on accident.

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On the complaining issue, I don't feel we have a right to complain if we get glutened unless we can easily see how it happened; i.e., server was terrible and making mistakes all over the place.

Otherwise, we have no right to complain. They put a disclaimer on their menus stating that there is no way to guarantee gluten free and that we eat there at our own risk. I agree with this.

Complaining just ruins it for others. It's not the same things as complaining because your steak is too raw, or you never got your diet coke. Those are legitimate complaints.

But complaining about getting glutened is ridiculous unless you can tell with the naked eye that they are being negligent. Because the fact is, even the most dedicated staff can still gluten someone on accident.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! You just said what I'd been trying to say all along (though I was too frustrated and, I'll admit, angry to get it out right). I'm glad to finally see some people....in even just a tiny little way.... agreeing with my point.

I do, however, want to let you know that my original post - though correct at the time - now needs to be fixed. My manager, though I'm sure well meaning in his trying to keep me "up-to-date" with the changes, was wrong. I'm not sure what he heard and from who - about the gluten-free menu being chucked. It was, for a short time, ripped up and thrown away... and I guess it was because of inaccuracies and ingredients changing. We just recieved, along with new regular menus, new gluten-free menus. However, they still state, at the bottom in small print, that they cannot guarantee that there isn't a risk. (Not in those words...but the point is taken.) So, just because they're willing to let you know which items can be made gluten-free... doesn't mean there's no chance of you getting sick. We all know that going into the restaurant (ANY restaurant)....so I still stand by my opinion that it is pointless and wrong to complain about being glutened (especially on a corporate level).

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On the complaining issue, I don't feel we have a right to complain if we get glutened unless we can easily see how it happened; i.e., server was terrible and making mistakes all over the place.

Otherwise, we have no right to complain. They put a disclaimer on their menus stating that there is no way to guarantee gluten free and that we eat there at our own risk. I agree with this.

Complaining just ruins it for others. It's not the same things as complaining because your steak is too raw, or you never got your diet coke. Those are legitimate complaints.

But complaining about getting glutened is ridiculous unless you can tell with the naked eye that they are being negligent. Because the fact is, even the most dedicated staff can still gluten someone on accident.

Then how will they know that their efforts are inadequate?

You can eat a steak completely raw and it won't make you ill, when you order a steak you are just professing a preference not a health reason.

If a resto messes up how you want your steak or gives you diet coke instead of non diet then that indicates they are not doing enough. In the case of phenylketuronics (sp) getting a diet coke is damaging to their health.

Just because you accept the risks doesn't mean you should put up with sloppy service and educating them politely is not spoiling it for other celiacs but helping them. IMHO the ones who spoil it are those who do not complain politely when they make obvious mistakes because then they think that celiacs are just playing at being intolerant to a single crumb!

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I do, however, want to let you know that my original post - though correct at the time - now needs to be fixed. My manager, though I'm sure well meaning in his trying to keep me "up-to-date" with the changes, was wrong. I'm not sure what he heard and from who - about the gluten-free menu being chucked. It was, for a short time, ripped up and thrown away... and I guess it was because of inaccuracies and ingredients changing. We just recieved, along with new regular menus, new gluten-free menus. However, they still state, at the bottom in small print, that they cannot guarantee that there isn't a risk. (Not in those words...but the point is taken.)

Thank you for updating on that point. It's nice to hear that your restaurant will continue to provide gluten-free options.

So, just because they're willing to let you know which items can be made gluten-free... doesn't mean there's no chance of you getting sick. We all know that going into the restaurant (ANY restaurant)....so I still stand by my opinion that it is pointless and wrong to complain about being glutened (especially on a corporate level).

I still stand by my opinion that is it never wrong for the customer to complain tactfully comment (I think this is a better choice of words than to "complain") about a problem with service or product. Improvements cannot be made without input. If a company decides that it's better to drop a service/product than to put effort into improving it, then it's still better than providing a service/product that is inadequate.

Michelle

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I hate to tell everyone this...but Outback Steakhouse is no longer going to put out their gluten-free menu. They say they can't "guarantee" that anything is 100% gluten-free. My guess is that some stupid person complained one too many times about being glutened there...so they punished the rest of us and got rid of the gluten-free menu. Don't we all know that almost NOTHING can be guaranteed 100% gluten free?! We know that we eat out at our own risk, right?! The chance at a restaurant for CC is sooooo high that if you're sooo sensitive, don't go out and eat!! GRR - I'm so mad!! They've had these menu's for a long time...it must have been something big to make them take them away. So, anyway - I guess in the future make sure your server checks to make sure they haven't changed any recipes. Good luck!

I sure hope our local Outback isn't going to scrap their gluten-free menu. I had lunch there today and used the gluten-free menu and the manager came out to be sure everything was to my satisfaction. They are very customer focused.

Sharon

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That will really be too bad if they get rid of their gluten-free menu!

That said, I should add that I've had both great and awful dinners at Outback. The first few times we went there it was like heaven...gluten-free dessert and such great food! However, I got glutened there twice. The first was my own darn fault, I forgot to order the salad gluten-free. The second time, though, I ordered a chopped blue cheese salad gluten free and got one with lots of little noodles in it! I had already eaten a few bites, luckily I knew from the first incident to watch for noodles. Anyway, they took the salad back and brought me another one...*that* one had less noodles but still had little crispy noodles here and there! My guess is that they forgot on the first salad and then didn't use a clean bowl when they made the second. Anyway, salad # 3 was clean but the damage was done. We did get a free dessert and I didn't complain to the manager or anything, although he did come out the 3ed time to offer us the free dessert and make sure I wasn't going to drop dead on his restraunt floor or anything LOL.

It was busy there the night of the 3 salads, so I'm guessing they just weren't on top of things. Unfortunately, pretty much anywhere you go you risk that...a gluten free menu is only as good as the people who are preparing the food....if they don't "get" it, you can get glutened anyway. Sigh.

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That will really be too bad if they get rid of their gluten-free menu!

That said, I should add that I've had both great and awful dinners at Outback. The first few times we went there it was like heaven...gluten-free dessert and such great food! However, I got glutened there twice. The first was my own darn fault, I forgot to order the salad gluten-free. The second time, though, I ordered a chopped blue cheese salad gluten free and got one with lots of little noodles in it! I had already eaten a few bites, luckily I knew from the first incident to watch for noodles. Anyway, they took the salad back and brought me another one...*that* one had less noodles but still had little crispy noodles here and there! My guess is that they forgot on the first salad and then didn't use a clean bowl when they made the second. Anyway, salad # 3 was clean but the damage was done. We did get a free dessert and I didn't complain to the manager or anything, although he did come out the 3ed time to offer us the free dessert and make sure I wasn't going to drop dead on his restraunt floor or anything LOL.

It was busy there the night of the 3 salads, so I'm guessing they just weren't on top of things. Unfortunately, pretty much anywhere you go you risk that...a gluten free menu is only as good as the people who are preparing the food....if they don't "get" it, you can get glutened anyway. Sigh.

The gluten-free menu at Ouback is not going anywhere. And the Bleau Cheese Dressing is not gluten-free. There are two dressing that are not gluten-free at Outback, the Mustard Vin and the Bleau Cheese. It says it on the gluten-free menu, but perhaps you missed it (it IS in smaller print, off to the side). Just FYI.

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If you find yourself in Plano, Texas -- there is a restaurant now where EVERYTHING is gluten free. And they have all the things you normally can't have like chicken fried steak, fried shrimp, chicken nuggets, chocolate cake, fish and chips!!! you can view the menu at www.delicious-n-fit.com and get directions if needed

So no more worries about being "glutened" here.

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Guest Kathy Ann

I predict we'll see many more of those kinds of restaurants. If it really is 1 in every 133 or even 1 in every 30 if you count the gluten intolerance issue, then it's soon going to be difficult to ignore us. I recently heard that the US just flipped over to officially 300 million people. That means there are at least 3 million of us. I think that's more than enough to pay some attention to!

I think separate restaurants will have to happen eventually. The same way it's really hard to have a kitchen in your home catering to both gluten people and non gluten people, it has to be 10 times harder to do it successfully in a commercial setting with lots of workers, lots of attitudes, crumbs and gluten dust.

I went out to eat Sunday with my big family at a buffet. I brought homemade chicken soup in a thermos and a dessert. I was tactful and didn't make a big deal out of it and it went OK. I did it so I could take part in that kind of fellowship. I realize that many restaurants may not tolerate that and it isn't always practical. But right now, I admit to being gunshy about actually eating from the menu in any restaurants, except those completely gluten free ones. It's just too risky in my opinion.

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Totally off topic from Outback...but I was glutened at PF Changs.....

The jerk waiter who was handling my carry out...said oh this is the gluten free.....I said no its not the gluten free looks different, you're not supposed to have soy sauce in there or the cookie.

Sooooooooooo he takes it back in the kitchen, new bag no soy sauce...no cookie. I get back to work take a bite,....look down. The same dang one....minus all the gluten-free containing side items.

Lord...I call and talk to the manager and she says she'll give me my money back. I say not good enough....

I call corporate....and they have the Regional....and district managers call me. They profusely apologize to me....send me $100 in gift certs and assure me....that there will be a mass education of their staff....and tell me how it will go.

So now....they put red stickers on anything carry out gluten-free....they don't put any soy sauce or cookies in there...and they require the staff to high light the item in hot pink for it to be noted as gluten free.

I was pleased....they really take it seriously

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I was going to stay out of this, but I feel that my input may assist the discussion.

I was a waiter/bartender for 10 years (almost the same time I had Celiac). I can probably count the number of times I waited on someone that was as knowledgeable as I was/am regarding food preparation. Most of the time, I actually educated people regarding gluten containing items and so forth.

The point I am making is that, in my opinion, MOST celiacs are not restaurant saavy. Furthermore, it is very easy for me to tell which guests that I waited on that will get sick verus those who will not (over 90% did not ask the right questions or understood simple food preparation techniques which placed them at risk).

Having said all of that, this is what I think about this discussion:

If you know to a decent degree of certainty what made you sick, then complain. Complain all day long, write letters, talk to managers, chefs and waiters. Let them understand where they went wrong.

However, if you don't know. You are accomplishing nothing by complaining other than making it more difficult for the rest of us to eat out. That is the honest truth.

Another BIG PROBLEM (especially with newbies) is that they often have other food intolerances that they blame on gluten. Everyone should be getting a full spectrum of food allergy tests and try the SC diet or the removal/addition diet. People often have nightshade, dairy, lipid, pectin, nut and many other allergies that bother their system - yet, they do not get tested and blame ALL OF THEIR PROBLEMS on gluten - its simply inaccurate and irresponsible!

Another thing that Celiacs need to realize is that for the first year or two after diagnosis, you body is still healing and it might not be able to handle restaurant food. Its common, but many people ignore that fact.

Lastly, a great deal of Celics often balme gluten when they simply had something that there body did not agree with. I swear, if you go to a Celiac group, no one seems to have had stomach flu or inidgestion or food posioning or even something as basic as the body not agreeing with the food. Everybody blames every little thing on getting "glutened" -- its unrealistic, its not fair to you and definitely not fair to the restaurant.

Just my 2 cents!

Bronco

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