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horsegirl

Restaurant Frustration

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Obviously I understand where you are coming from, but I think you need to step back and take a look at this from the restaurants perspective. For starters it is most likely a health code violation for you to bring your own food in. But more so than that, they are in the business of selling food and you're asking to sit at one of their tables, take up a spot that a paying customer could occupy and eat your own food.

There are definately people on here that will disagree with me, but I think it's rude to ask a restaurant to let you bring your own food. If I had a meeting at a place like this, I would simply explain the circumstances to my fellow diners, shrug it off as no big deal, order a beverage and carry on.

To be completely honest, I think not only is it unacceptable to do this from a restaurants point of view, but I think it puts the other people in your party in an awkward situation. If I were with someone that did that, I would be rather embarrassed if they suddenly pulled tupperware out of their purse. It's a restaurant, this is how they make money.

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[if we are ever told that the restaurant's policy is not to allow outside food, we plan to simply say it is our policy to eat meals that don't make us physically ill. But no confrontation has ever come.

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Thanks for all of the awesome suggestions & replies! I knew I could count on all of you for some help & support. I think I'll take something in a small lunch bag, & eat it while everyone else eats their food.

If I get hassled, then I will tell them I have "life-threatening food allergies" & cannot eat there, but have joined my entire staff for a luncheon. I doubt they will ask me to leave; if they do, my staff will most likely back me 100% because they totally understand what I've been going through with this.

Keep the suggestions rolling though; I love reading them & hopefully they'll help others feel "boosted up" like I do now.

Horsegirl

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Obviously I understand where you are coming from, but I think you need to step back and take a look at this from the restaurants perspective. For starters it is most likely a health code violation for you to bring your own food in. But more so than that, they are in the business of selling food and you're asking to sit at one of their tables, take up a spot that a paying customer could occupy and eat your own food.

There are definately people on here that will disagree with me, but I think it's rude to ask a restaurant to let you bring your own food. If I had a meeting at a place like this, I would simply explain the circumstances to my fellow diners, shrug it off as no big deal, order a beverage and carry on.

To be completely honest, I think not only is it unacceptable to do this from a restaurants point of view, but I think it puts the other people in your party in an awkward situation. If I were with someone that did that, I would be rather embarrassed if they suddenly pulled tupperware out of their purse. It's a restaurant, this is how they make money.

I can understand it both ways, but we are the ones who have major difficulties to deal with and asking my family, friends and co-workers to sit there and eat without me having the opportunity to do the same is just not right. Most of us are not talking about walking into a resteraunt by ourselves and taking up a table without ordering food. Whenever I go out to eat my party more then pays for the table so if I bring a little food along then that should be more then acceptable (if I have a medical condition which requires me to do so). This is a disease and a medical condition that can have long term negative results if our diets are not appropriately regulated, so we should be allowed some breathing room on this one. All resteraunts have to be handycapped acceccible in today's day and age so that people with disabilities have the same opportunity to eat out as the rest of us, so why is Celiac not considered the same type of thing?

I'm really sorry you would be embarrassed if someone you were eating with pulled tupperwear out of their purse, but you have the choice not to eat with that person and still eat out, but you think Celiac patients should be asked to not only NOT eat out but if they chose to eat out to just sit there and eat nothing while everyone else gets to chow down. I know that is how resteraunts make their money but not eating resteraunt food that isn't guaranteed to be gluten free is how I save my life, and I should not be punished because resteraunts won't offer what is safe for me.

Please don't think that I'm coming down on you in any way because that's not what I'm trying to do here, so I apologize if this sounds in any way like I'm being snotty, or b*tchy, but I already have to give up 90% of the american diet and it's just not right to ask me to give up eating out too.

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We do try to order what we can from any restaurant. I don't see how they would benefit more if a person just sat there with little or nothing to eat (eating either before or afterwards) or didn't come at all.

I also don't see why it would be a health code violation, either. Since no one has ever commented on my family's assorted "eating food from the outside" experiences, I assume it wouldn't be. If someone ever told me it was, I would ask for a citation to the law itself. If it proved to be correct, then I would abide by the law.

I wouldn't necessarily believe them if they said it was illegal, though. People frequently say things are illegal when it just means they don't like it or they think it should be illegal. I just ran a little google search. I can find people saying it is illegal. But then I just looked through all the health code regulations for a large city. There is nothing like that in there.

How many restaurants will even serve a special cake brought it from elsewhere? Quite a few. They will charge a plating fee, but they still do it.

And how many parents go into restaurants with food for their babies and toddlers? Do they ever get stopped.

It would get iffier if you asked for them to heat up your food or something, because then the unknown food goes into their kitchen.

No, I think restaurants don't like outside food because they feel it may cut into their sales. Similarly, sports teams keep you from bringing your own food into a stadium. But they don't care if you eat it outside, even if you are on their property.

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There are definately people on here that will disagree with me, but I think it's rude to ask a restaurant to let you bring your own food. If I had a meeting at a place like this, I would simply explain the circumstances to my fellow diners, shrug it off as no big deal, order a beverage and carry on.

To be completely honest, I think not only is it unacceptable to do this from a restaurants point of view, but I think it puts the other people in your party in an awkward situation. If I were with someone that did that, I would be rather embarrassed if they suddenly pulled tupperware out of their purse. It's a restaurant, this is how they make money.

Well I guess this comment has hit a sore spot with me, because I just can't stop thinking about it. To me that's like saying a number of things which could include any one or more of the following..

Some people are offended when others smoke around their kids, or with their kids in the car. (this can lead to medical issues, so it's been outlawed in public in most states, so why is smoking not completely outlawed altogether?)

Some poeple are offended when someone smokes in the smoking section outside a store so when they come out they have to walk through the door where the smoke is blowing right at them and their children who have to breath it. (I guess these people should just stop shopping at the grocery store then right?)

Some people are offended when an overweight person gets special sitting arrangements at functions because they can't fit in a normal chair. (Maybe these people should not be allowed to have a chair?)

Some people are offended when people swear in public around their kids (does that mean these people will stop swearing - I doubt it)

Some people are offended when you walk into a resteraunt dressed like a person from Iraque (does that mean that these people should not be allowed in our public places anymore? Obviously not)

My point here is not to discriminate or be negative towards anyone that any of these comments may apply to, but to let everyone know that maybe we judge too much. I myself chose what to be offended by and no one else, and just because I get offended by something doesn't mean the person sitting next to me is offended as well. You chose to be offended by what you want to be offended by and if someone appears to be doing something "rude" just think for a moment about what kinds of medical conditions they could have that may contribute to that, because it's not always black and white, and you just never know!!

When my hubby and I took the kids to Six Flags this past summer the only food they had there for me to eat was fruit and by mid day NO ONE had fruit left, so is it fair to tell my kids we can't go there because they don't offer anything for me to eat, or do I just sneak food in? Some may chose to prevent their kids from going due to their illness, but I refuse to make my kids suffer for something that's out of my control.

When Celiac prevents me from going places and doing things that a normal person may do, and when it makes me physically ill to do these things, then I consider that a handycapp, and I think we should be treated with the respect and consideration that we deserve. It just bothers me that someone else would be offended because I'm chosing not to punish my family for my medical condition but at the same time trying to save my own life by eating safe.

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[if we are ever told that the restaurant's policy is not to allow outside food, we plan to simply say it is our policy to eat meals that don't make us physically ill. But no confrontation has ever come.

Last time I checked, it's your choice to eat in the restaurant or not, so a comment like that seems completely unwarranted.

I can understand it both ways, but we are the ones who have major difficulties to deal with and asking my family, friends and co-workers to sit there and eat without me having the opportunity to do the same is just not right. Most of us are not talking about walking into a resteraunt by ourselves and taking up a table without ordering food. Whenever I go out to eat my party more then pays for the table so if I bring a little food along then that should be more then acceptable (if I have a medical condition which requires me to do so). This is a disease and a medical condition that can have long term negative results if our diets are not appropriately regulated, so we should be allowed some breathing room on this one. All resteraunts have to be handycapped acceccible in today's day and age so that people with disabilities have the same opportunity to eat out as the rest of us, so why is Celiac not considered the same type of thing?

I'm really sorry you would be embarrassed if someone you were eating with pulled tupperwear out of their purse, but you have the choice not to eat with that person and still eat out, but you think Celiac patients should be asked to not only NOT eat out but if they chose to eat out to just sit there and eat nothing while everyone else gets to chow down. I know that is how resteraunts make their money but not eating resteraunt food that isn't guaranteed to be gluten free is how I save my life, and I should not be punished because resteraunts won't offer what is safe for me.

Please don't think that I'm coming down on you in any way because that's not what I'm trying to do here, so I apologize if this sounds in any way like I'm being snotty, or b*tchy, but I already have to give up 90% of the american diet and it's just not right to ask me to give up eating out too.

I am on this message board, so obviously have the same disease as everyone else here; and obviously understand all the issues and difficulties that come with it. But I am also capable of acting like a mature adult. I will not die if I sit through a meal with coworkers or friends and just have a beverage. In fact I did it this past weekend when my husband and I were out shopping. He was really hungry (as was I) and there was a bagel shop across the street. I was completely fine with sitting there having tea while he ate, and I got something to eat when we got home.

It would never in a million years cross my mind to take my own food into a restaurant. I just think that is completely unacceptable. Like I said, they are in the business of selling food... and you're asking to bring your own food in. That doesn't seem a bit strange or rude?

I eat out all the time, in fact I'm eating food right now that I got at a local deli. No one says you have to give up eating out, but maybe you shouldn't eat out at restaurants that you don't feel comfortable enough to eat their food.

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Last time I checked, it's your choice to eat in the restaurant or not, so a comment like that seems completely unwarranted.

I am on this message board, so obviously have the same disease as everyone else here; and obviously understand all the issues and difficulties that come with it. But I am also capable of acting like a mature adult. I will not die if I sit through a meal with coworkers or friends and just have a beverage. In fact I did it this past weekend when my husband and I were out shopping. He was really hungry (as was I) and there was a bagel shop across the street. I was completely fine with sitting there having tea while he ate, and I got something to eat when we got home.

It would never in a million years cross my mind to take my own food into a restaurant. I just think that is completely unacceptable. Like I said, they are in the business of selling food... and you're asking to bring your own food in. That doesn't seem a bit strange or rude?

I eat out all the time, in fact I'm eating food right now that I got at a local deli. No one says you have to give up eating out, but maybe you shouldn't eat out at restaurants that you don't feel comfortable enough to eat their food.

drug companies are in the business of selling drugs by they have to be aware of all allergies and list all ingredients for the consumers so they can avoid allergies, why are resteraunts not held to the same standard?

You may not die if you sit there and drink a beverage, but I REFUSE to do so because I have a right to enjoy life with my family and there are resteraunts that DO want my business and who are sensitive to what we are going through, so I would just chose to go somewhere else. WHAT I WILL NOT DUE IS RISK INTESTINAL AND STOMACH CANCERS BECAUSE A RESTERAUNT CLAIMS TO BE ABLE TO ACCOMODATE ME BUT MAKES ME SICK EVERYTIME!! I CAN DIE FROM THAT!!

I have way better things to do then be offended by someone else bringing a little food into a resteraunt. Most people are so busy eating that they'd never even notice.

Since when was allowing people to stay healthy such a big deal.

When diabetics bring sugar substitute packets into a resteraunt (which happens quite frequently) do you get offended by that too?

As a matter of fact we do not have any resteraunts locally that I feel confortable eating at and some of us do not have a lot of gluten free options. I can't eat hardly anything processed without getting sick, so does that mean I have to suffer and my family also has to suffer?

If I buy a bowling ball or pool stick while I'm on vacation out of state should I not be able to take those to my local pool hall or bowling alley because I didn't buy them there? If I go to a waterpark should I not be able to swim there unless I buy my bathing suit there? They are in the business of selling pool sticks, bowling balls, and bathing suits, but you can still bring stuff in from outside if you want.

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I am on this message board, so obviously have the same disease as everyone else here; and obviously understand all the issues and difficulties that come with it. But I am also capable of acting like a mature adult.

I am also capable of acting like a mature adult that's why I chose not to judge others just because they do not believe the same way that I do. You have every right to think I'm rude if I walk into a resteraunt with food, just like I have every right to think it's not rude in the least. I also have many freedoms in America and there are no laws around here that prevent me from walking into a resteraunt with food, so I guess this one is a matter of opinion.

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I guess this one is a matter of opinion.

I agree, this is a matter of opinion (except for the fact that I'm pretty sure if violates a health code bringing your own food into a restaurant, but not positive about that).

On that note, I will leave the remainder of my opinions on this topic to myself, because to be honest I find it sad that this is that big a deal.

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I think there should be a happy medium. However, anyone asserting they have a right to take something in to a privately owned business because they are "in America" is missing the point that the business owner has rights also, including the right to make a choice not to allow non-paying customers to occupy a table. Depending on context (others in the party) it might be a poor business decision but there is not a "right" to take food into a restaurant.

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I can understand it both ways, but we are the ones who have major difficulties to deal with and asking my family, friends and co-workers to sit there and eat without me having the opportunity to do the same is just not right. Most of us are not talking about walking into a resteraunt by ourselves and taking up a table without ordering food. Whenever I go out to eat my party more then pays for the table so if I bring a little food along then that should be more then acceptable (if I have a medical condition which requires me to do so). This is a disease and a medical condition that can have long term negative results if our diets are not appropriately regulated, so we should be allowed some breathing room on this one. All resteraunts have to be handycapped acceccible in today's day and age so that people with disabilities have the same opportunity to eat out as the rest of us, so why is Celiac not considered the same type of thing?

I'm really sorry you would be embarrassed if someone you were eating with pulled tupperwear out of their purse, but you have the choice not to eat with that person and still eat out, but you think Celiac patients should be asked to not only NOT eat out but if they chose to eat out to just sit there and eat nothing while everyone else gets to chow down. I know that is how resteraunts make their money but not eating resteraunt food that isn't guaranteed to be gluten free is how I save my life, and I should not be punished because resteraunts won't offer what is safe for me.

Please don't think that I'm coming down on you in any way because that's not what I'm trying to do here, so I apologize if this sounds in any way like I'm being snotty, or b*tchy, but I already have to give up 90% of the american diet and it's just not right to ask me to give up eating out too.

Well its a bit of both really ....

However "and it's just not right to ask me to give up eating out too" .. some people have to give up all sorts of things, being in direct sunlight or a whole multitude of other things.

It really isn't fair but that's life...

From the resto's POV they are in the business to make money... and their real problem is more their lack of understanding of what gluten-free really means than trying to be deliberately unfair to you.

From their POV people pulling out there own food looks bad... and you could say the same about a server who refused to hide a tattoo etc. or (why should they be able to discriminate against someone who has a tattoo working for them or long hair or ... )

At the same time it is our families and coworkers fault as well for expecting us to eat out and not really understanding...

Then we have ourselves collectively to blame for mixed messages ...

In other words its pretty complex and catch-22 ... while people in general don't understand we are the ones being inconvenienced, poisoned and ill.... certainly not fair but ...

If I buy a bowling ball or pool stick while I'm on vacation out of state should I not be able to take those to my local pool hall or bowling alley because I didn't buy them there? If I go to a waterpark should I not be able to swim there unless I buy my bathing suit there? They are in the business of selling pool sticks, bowling balls, and bathing suits, but you can still bring stuff in from outside if you want.
If you can't see the difference then it really can't be explained here...its apples and oranges.

However if a bowling alley or pool wants to stick up a sign banning that then they have an equal right as not... if it turned out a set of pool stuff like inflatable balls made in some 3rd world country had a toxic paint then it might be quite sensible to say only inflatable balls bought at the waterpark can be used etc.

This could turn ridiculous, like why ban pets from the waterpark "can I take my 30' anaconda or gator" ... and it all depends on circumstance...if you don't like the resto don't go.. that's how a free market works... I would probably be with you on boycotting the resto and encouraging others to but blaming the resto isn't really fair either...

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Well its a bit of both really ....

However "and it's just not right to ask me to give up eating out too" .. some people have to give up all sorts of things, being in direct sunlight or a whole multitude of other things.

It really isn't fair but that's life...

From the resto's POV they are in the business to make money... and their real problem is more their lack of understanding of what gluten-free really means than trying to be deliberately unfair to you.

From their POV people pulling out there own food looks bad... and you could say the same about a server who refused to hide a tattoo etc. or (why should they be able to discriminate against someone who has a tattoo working for them or long hair or ... )

At the same time it is our families and coworkers fault as well for expecting us to eat out and not really understanding...

Then we have ourselves collectively to blame for mixed messages ...

In other words its pretty complex and catch-22 ... while people in general don't understand we are the ones being inconvenienced, poisoned and ill.... certainly not fair but ...

If you can't see the difference then it really can't be explained here...its apples and oranges.

However if a bowling alley or pool wants to stick up a sign banning that then they have an equal right as not... if it turned out a set of pool stuff like inflatable balls made in some 3rd world country had a toxic paint then it might be quite sensible to say only inflatable balls bought at the waterpark can be used etc.

This could turn ridiculous, like why ban pets from the waterpark "can I take my 30' anaconda or gator" ... and it all depends on circumstance...if you don't like the resto don't go.. that's how a free market works... I would probably be with you on boycotting the resto and encouraging others to but blaming the resto isn't really fair either...

You are right in all of this I wasn't trying to compare anything actually just trying to show that things aren't as simple as just banning people from bringing food in. There are things to consider on both sides, but it's frustrating either way. I think if I come in and order a salad and the resteraunt does not have a safe salad dressing then I should be allowed to bring my own (that's just my opinion though).

The other thing is that most public places allow seeing eye dogs for obvious reasons so if we have a medical issue that prevents us from eating the food a resteraunt offers then why are we not given the same courtesy? I know again we're kind of comparing apples to oranges, but I'd rather have one person at a table of 2 or more bring in their own food then to see a seeing eye dog sitting at the table next to me.

There are lots of things to consider and yes lots of people have to give up lots of things but my point is if a resteraunt wants my family's business they will allow us to bring food in under medical circumstances (if they won't or can't allow me to then we'll go down the street to someone who will).

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I eat out all the time, in fact I'm eating food right now that I got at a local deli. No one says you have to give up eating out, but maybe you shouldn't eat out at restaurants that you don't feel comfortable enough to eat their food.

When I was "only" gluten-free, I was able to find many more selections of restaurants where I could safely make food selections. However, with 4 food intolerances now (& possibly more), & after having gotten sick a couple of times recently from cross-contamination issues, I am VERY wary about eating in restaurants unless I KNOW they can safely accommodate me. However, I'm also not going to ask my family, friends, & co-workers to only go to the 2 "safe" restaurants I've found so far. Instead I would still like the freedom to join them wherever they go & not feel like I'm unable to join in the social aspects of going out. Eating out is NOT only about the food & filling our bellies; it's very social too. It's hard enough to give up so many yummy things; I'm not going to give up on going out because a restaurant is unwilling to let me bring food in, or because someone else might be offended.

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When I was "only" gluten-free, I was able to find many more selections of restaurants where I could safely make food selections. However, with 4 food intolerances now (& possibly more), & after having gotten sick a couple of times recently from cross-contamination issues, I am VERY wary about eating in restaurants unless I KNOW they can safely accommodate me. However, I'm also not going to ask my family, friends, & co-workers to only go to the 2 "safe" restaurants I've found so far. Instead I would still like the freedom to join them wherever they go & not feel like I'm unable to join in the social aspects of going out. Eating out is NOT only about the food & filling our bellies; it's very social too. It's hard enough to give up so many yummy things; I'm not going to give up on going out because a restaurant is unwilling to let me bring food in, or because someone else might be offended.

I agree completely!!

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Well, each to his/her own opinion on this.

For me - I follow the principle: DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL

I am discrete, but if I go with friends/family to a restaurant and am unable to eat ahead of time, I will bring a small meal with me. If I'm able to do so, I'll heat my "entree" and wrap it in a cloth so it'll be warm when I eat. I will bring salads in a plastic container. At the restaurant I'll order a drink and just say, "I'm not ordering" when the server begins taking orders. I might order a salad, but will have my own dressing with me.

I have a prepared speach to give if I'm questioned, but haven't used it yet. No one from the restaurant has ever confronted me. I don't make a big deal about it, and they don't either.

This method has opened up more opportunities for going with friends and family to different restaurants in town and I get to socialize and not feel like I have to decline invitations just because of my limitations (which are multiple food allergies along with gluten-intolerance).

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Well, each to his/her own opinion on this.

For me - I follow the principle: DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL

I am discrete, but if I go with friends/family to a restaurant and am unable to eat ahead of time, I will bring a small meal with me. If I'm able to do so, I'll heat my "entree" and wrap it in a cloth so it'll be warm when I eat. I will bring salads in a plastic container. At the restaurant I'll order a drink and just say, "I'm not ordering" when the server begins taking orders. I might order a salad, but will have my own dressing with me.

I have a prepared speach to give if I'm questioned, but haven't used it yet. No one from the restaurant has ever confronted me. I don't make a big deal about it, and they don't either.

This method has opened up more opportunities for going with friends and family to different restaurants in town and I get to socialize and not feel like I have to decline invitations just because of my limitations (which are multiple food allergies along with gluten-intolerance).

I basically follow the same strategies as ArtGirl. In 29 years I have never had a restaurant ask me to leave.

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I bring food with me all the time to restaraunts...breads, chips, gluten-free cupcakes and deserts, salad dressing.....only once has anybody questioned me, while my husband and I were dining in a "fine" restaurant with 2 other couples. I simply stated when their chef's at the restaurant could make gluten-free bread, gravy and desert that won't make me throw up all over their table I will be happy to leave my "extras" at home, until then I feel it is much better for me to bring my own "appropriate" items. The manager said "thank you ma'am, I understand" We have been back to that establishment 3 times since then and I am greeted with a smile and they are more than happy to remove my wrappers...

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It's quite possible that if you ask beforehand, that a manager isn't allowed to tell you that it's ok to bring your own food, but if you just do it discreetly, they wouldn't mind turning a blind eye.

I don't eat out a lot, but the few times I do, I always try to talk to the chef in person if I can. That usually works much better. I never rely on a waiter understanding my order, I at least want to speak to the manager.

Actually I have asked at restaurants a few times if I could eat my own food, here in Holland and in England. It usually went like "Could you make me something to eat that is gluten free, dairy free, egg free and hasn't got legumes or nightshades in it?" "Umm..." "Ok, then do you mind if I eat something of my own while my friends eat here?" "No, that's fine" <relieved look> I've actually been offered cutlery and a plate sometimes. :)

But I guess health regulations or something could prevent a restaurant from allowing that in some places.

Pauliina

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Your right that location may figure in the legal aspects. In Hawaii, we have different laws on each island as each has it's own health dept. which may or may not answer to the state health dept. Convoluted to be sure. On the Big Island people can sell homemade jelly at farmers markets but on other islands it has to be made in a county certified kitchen.

I work with chefs almost daily and I know they are willing to make something special, at least here, when they have advance warning. There is only one restaurant here that refused to come up with something special. I've never been back.

I would never bring a whole meal to a restaurant but do bring my own dressing or gluten-free soy sauce. At a movie theater I would not think twice about bring pockets full of stuff I can eat though.

ken

It's quite possible that if you ask beforehand, that a manager isn't allowed to tell you that it's ok to bring your own food, but if you just do it discreetly, they wouldn't mind turning a blind eye.

I don't eat out a lot, but the few times I do, I always try to talk to the chef in person if I can. That usually works much better. I never rely on a waiter understanding my order, I at least want to speak to the manager.

Actually I have asked at restaurants a few times if I could eat my own food, here in Holland and in England. It usually went like "Could you make me something to eat that is gluten free, dairy free, egg free and hasn't got legumes or nightshades in it?" "Umm..." "Ok, then do you mind if I eat something of my own while my friends eat here?" "No, that's fine" <relieved look> I've actually been offered cutlery and a plate sometimes. :)

But I guess health regulations or something could prevent a restaurant from allowing that in some places.

Pauliina

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I don't understand the sense of entitlement about eating in restaurants. It's a place of business, not a public park. If you think it's unfair to be barred from bringing your own food in, is the "No shirt, no shoes, no service" policy out of line?

I also don't understand why anyone would threaten restaurant personnel with legal action or projectile vomiting when you eat restaurant-prepared food at your own risk.

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I think the issue is more that it's a work function so it's not like the OP has control over the restaurant choice. If OP was going out to dinner with a friend, I'm sure she'd pick an acceptable place. Maybe the issue here is that her work didn't choose a place that is accommodating to all. Of course, it can be difficult to accomodate everyone, especially since OP has multiple allergies and may not feel comfortable eating anywhere.

For me it's mostly that these are social events. I don't want to miss out on socializing just because I have celiac. If it's lunchtime I often can't eat prior due to meetings, and I'm really hungry. I do sometimes eat prior and just get a drink at the restaurant, but if I can't eat prior it's super hard to sit there hungry and miserable while everyone else eats. I mostly do it when I'm with a large group at a very informal/fast food type place. If I made my group of friends go to the same few safe restaurants every week, they'd stop inviting me. I don't want to be excluded from social events because of this.

I do understand the restaurant's point of view in that I'm not a paying customer. I would argue that if I wasn't allowed to eat there, none of my friends would either. There are other restaurants that will allow me to bring my food or can serve me that we would go to. I will note that I do tip as if I ate a meal - the server still brings me drinks, even if it's just water, and for that I am grateful. I also don't think we are entitled to accommodation - I don't think this falls under disability laws. I'm trying to come up with a good example of a similar situation - the best I can come up with is amusement parks not accommodating people in wheelchairs - you can get into the facility, but you may not be able to ride the rides. No one is forcing you to eat in a restaurant. If it's a work function, that's a work issue not a restaurant issue.

I'm fascinated that this thread has caused so much controversy! I'm super stubborn about not letting this disease get in the way of leading a normal life so to me it only seemed natural to bring my own food when I can't eat what's being served. It hadn't even occured to me that others would have such a strong opposite viewpoint.

Since we seem to be all over the map here, I'd be interested in what everyone thinks about the following questions: How much accommodation in regards to food can one expect from a work function? What about from friends who you go out with frequently (and thus would tire of our limited restaurant choices)? If you are someone who will not bring your own food to restaurants, has this affected your social life in any way?

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I think the issue is more that it's a work function so it's not like the OP has control over the restaurant choice.

Since we seem to be all over the map here, I'd be interested in what everyone thinks about the following questions: How much accommodation in regards to food can one expect from a work function? What about from friends who you go out with frequently (and thus would tire of our limited restaurant choices)?

I agree that because it's a work function, it's much more awkward for me (which is a lot of why I posted to begin with!) I recently attended my employer's entire Behavioral Health Department's holiday luncheon (held at Spaghetti Factory, of all places), & that was very awkward too. There's no way I would have tried to special order a meal there, because there were over 100 in our party, & the servers were going crazy just trying to figure out who got spaghetti with meat sauce vs no meat.

I can't imagine the cross contamination issues there!

As far as your question regarding how much accommodation in regards to food one can expect from co-workers, I tell my co-workers that it's hard to pick a place that I feel comfortable enough dining at, so for them to go ahead & pick. For potlucks (which we usually have instead of going out) it's much easier because I make a dish that's allergen-free to share with everyone. This has impacted me at work however, because lately I notice people go out to lunch, & often don't even stop to ask if I'd like to go anymore. Even if I know I probably wouldn't go, it still doesn't feel good not to be asked!

Anyway, thanks again for all of the input on this topic. I too had no idea it would turn out to be so controversial!

Horsegirl

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drug companies are in the business of selling drugs by they have to be aware of all allergies and list all ingredients for the consumers so they can avoid allergies, why are resteraunts not held to the same standard?

This is such a dangerous assumption that I have to comment. Drug companies do need to be aware of what goes into what they make, they however in the US have NO labeling regulations as to the binders in the drugs. They do NOT have to disclose gluten ingredients in them, whether they are OTC or script and they can add and delete them at will after the patent runs out. In general the safest form of script drugs are ones that are the original not the generics. When they are still under patent they can not change binders. Once the patent runs out they can and do. Do not think that just because you do not see a gluten ingredient on the label that it is safe.

As to the restaurant issue, having been a chef I know most are going to do all they can to give you a meal you can eat safely. The restaurant has the legal right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. And we are free to not eat there if they can not accomadate us but give the chef a reasonable chance to feed you. Call first either early in the day or between 2 and 4 PM, when the chef will likely have a bit of down time. Most will be able to cook something you can eat safely as long as they know what needs to be done. If the place is one you want to go to often one suggestion I have is to write up what we need to look out for, for example:

To safely feed your celiac patrons you need to:

Cook their food on a clean pan

Make sure that utensils are used only for that food

Make sure if water glasses are kept at the waitress station along with the bread that they be rinsed thoughly before pouring and serving or offer bottled water

Ask if it is okay with the table to bring breads and rolls.

When serving do not layer or overlap plates with gluten food and non gluten food

Do not use sauces or spices without verifing that the person can tolerate them

I am sure others will have more to add that I have forgotten.

If we can educate restaurant folks about the issue it is going to be better in the long run than avoiding it and just hiding our own brought in food.

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I take my chips, salad dressing, crachers etc ALL THE TIME.

DON'T make a big deal about it just do it.

i guess i'm so lucky in CA i called and asked it they'd warm up some trader joes soup in a clean dish in microwave and they were happy to do so. MIL was horrified but..........after 2 weeks of eating out at everymeal, i didn't care what anyone thought at that point.!

Just be discreet and so sweet that suqar drips from your lips. :lol:

I always bring chips, crackers etc to restaurants...never gave it a second thought. I have had some odd looks from table mates but a quick one sentance explanation usually works. Dont make a big deal and no one else will either....I never want my celiac disease to keep me out of the loop so Ive learned to eat before I go (even if it means in the car on the way) and have a snack along.

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