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Guest hightop girl

How Do You Work With A Restaurant?

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Guest hightop girl

I think I might lose it completely if I couldn't ask questions on this forum. I am new to this and get kind of embarrassed about asking for special treatment. Last night my husband, a friend and I went to our favorite mexican restaurant in Colorado Springs. I usually check on line or call to see if they have a gluten free menu, but this was spur of the moment. When we got there, I asked our server if they had a gluten free menu. This alone kind of bugs me, but I am getting over it. She looked confused and said no. So I looked at the menu and ordered a fajita salad. I specifically ordered it because it was the only salad that did not come in a flour tortilla bowl. Of course, when it came it was in a flour tortilla shell. I got the menu, checked again, and now the owner asked if there was a problem. I explained why I had that salad, and her response was "oh, we can't keep track of which salad has the bowl and which doesn't, but we'll bring you a new one." They did, but then I worried that I had made a scene, and that I would end up glutened for the 3rd time in 3 weeks. I didn't end up glutened, thank goodness. How do you all deal with going to a restaurant for the first time. How do order so you don't have to send your food back? I felt like Sally in When Harry Met Sally.

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Guest j_mommy

1) Make it clear when you are ordering that you can't have gluten(I usually say wheat, bread, reg flour, ect) There have been times in teh past when it didn't say it came with breadsticks and it comes out and there's a breadstick laying across my food. If you are clear to begin with then you have every right to send it back if it's wrong.

2) call ahead and talk to teh manager whenever possible. You can still eat at places if they don't have a gluten-free menu.

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What I do, if I can't call ahead, is I ask for the manager right away when I get there. The rest of my company can go and get seated and I talk to the manager somewhere aside. Or actually at the table is fine for me as well but if you feel self conscious you can do it before going to the table. I explain my limitations to the manager and ask what they'd suggest. That gets them actively involved in the process and that way it seems to stick better.

If the manager seems really clueless I ask to speak directly to the chef. That usually works really well especially if it's not the busiest time of the night. Chefs are usually happy to think of a dish that you can eat, it's a matter of professional pride, plus they know better what goes into their food than the servers do. If they don't, I probably wouldn't want to eat there anyway... :D:rolleyes:

I always try to be very nice and patient about it, I don't take it for granted that a restaurant can accommodate me but at the same time I know I'm the customer so it's in their best interest to try. And if everything goes well I tip well. :)

It can be a bit intimidating at first and feel like you're making a fuss, but you're not making a fuss, you're making sure you don't get sick! That's completely different. Just keep reminding yourself of that. :)

Pauliina

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I highly recommend also using the Triumph Dining cards. They are very handy and have helped me in a few places where they read it and said, no, we can't accomodate you. I'd rather have that then get sick. www.triumphdining.com

Gluten Free Steve

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You also have to just get over the fact that you're asking additional questions and special ordering food. If you're embarrassed about this, it's going to be hard for you. I often check menus before I go and know exactly what I'm ordering before I go. To avoid making a "scene" I either sneak out to go to the "bathroom" before ordering and talk to the manager privately and order my meal through him/her. This works well for work lunches. I also try to sit on the end of a booth so I can talk quietly with the waiter. I go over all the potentials for CC and ask them to check those (and very they've checked when the meal comes). And I don't feel badly sending food back at all. Today I ordered a salad that came with a roll on top, and I sent it back right away. No guilt because I was very clear up front about what I needed. And I got over having people eat while I sit years ago! I tip generously when a server goes through all this extra effort so maybe doing that would help. And finally, I see eating out as a social experience. It's not about the food, it's about the people.


Gluten-Free since September 15, 2005.

Peanut-Free since July 2006.

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You also have to just get over the fact that you're asking additional questions and special ordering food. If you're embarrassed about this, it's going to be hard for you. I often check menus before I go and know exactly what I'm ordering before I go. To avoid making a "scene" I either sneak out to go to the "bathroom" before ordering and talk to the manager privately and order my meal through him/her. This works well for work lunches. I also try to sit on the end of a booth so I can talk quietly with the waiter. I go over all the potentials for CC and ask them to check those (and very they've checked when the meal comes). And I don't feel badly sending food back at all. Today I ordered a salad that came with a roll on top, and I sent it back right away. No guilt because I was very clear up front about what I needed. And I got over having people eat while I sit years ago! I tip generously when a server goes through all this extra effort so maybe doing that would help. And finally, I see eating out as a social experience. It's not about the food, it's about the people.

WoW, that's a good tip!

Overall resto's are pot luck ...

I worry about sending stuff back and them just removing the bread etc. and re-serving it.... I realise I have a perfect right...I just worry about someone in the kitchen on minimum wage respecting it!

Usually the manager will be more concerned that they don't get sued or something but someplaces just don't seem to take it seriously ... when you lay it on too thick you face the chance of them declining to serve you at all. I find places with a gluten-free menu, at least the staff are more aware ...

Often me worrying can really detract from enjoying the meal.

It doesn't help that many people chose gluten-free as a lifestyle choice... to them it doesn't matter really (I'm not saying you shouldn't have the right to know what's in your food) but if they eat round the bread or pick out croutons it doesn't help us.... Many resto's will then just assume we are being deliberatly a pain?


Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. (JC, De Bello Gallico Liber III/XVIII)

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Guest digmom1014

Just to add one thing for the newbies, I'm still one-3 months gluten-free. This weekend I went to Bonefish Grlll-gluten-free menu and Outback Steakhouse-gluten-free menu. OMG, I can't believe how extensive these menu's are and how accommodating the staff is about being gluten-free. Give either of those a try and you will feel much more comfortable in a restaurant situation.

Also, I know it is a bit obsessive but, I printed out allergy menus for the spots I go to in my area or on vacation, and keep them in a binder in the trunk of my car. I am in sales and if I can't steer the customer to a gluten-free menu restaurant-I use the binder. It has helped so much to ease my fear of restaurant eating, just being able to peruse the menu beforehand so, I already know what I can eat.

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My daughter works on the weekends in a restaurant and just so you know your not alone... half the people who order ask for "special" things.... many people in this day and age have food allergies or sensitivities. There are a lot of special diets out there, its certainly not just you and most restaurants are use to the requests and such.

However, I think if you don't tell them first and order food and then send it back, they are going to get frustrated with you, that food is then wasted and costs the restaurant money. You need to work with them prior to ordering, give them a chance to understand what your requirements are and let them help you.

Many places I go to I call ahead or at the very least get their menu online if they have one. Once I get there i ask the hostess if I can speak with the manager. Often they have brought the chef out to speak with me. I'm fine with the special attention but I don't embarrass easily I guess.

But most restaurants want your business... and so are happy to try and make it possible for you to eat at their establishments. Give them the chance upfront to do this!

Enjoy, Susan

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Guest hightop girl

Thanks. I did as much prep work before going as I could... it was spur of the moment, but I have checked online before for the menu, but had no luck. I was specific with the waitress and ordered the only salad not in a fried flour tortilla bowl. I was very specific when I sent it back that I needed a NEW salad, not just that one dumped off the tortilla. So yesterday afternoon, I decided to give the restaurant a call. I talked to the owner. I told him that his restaurant had always been one of our favorites, and that we wanted to continue going there, and that I really hated to send food back because then no one was very happy. I just asked how he would like me to handle my special diet restrictions next time. (I called at a not busy time of the afternoon) He said I should talk to the manager because waiters and waitresses at ALL restaurants would have no idea what I was talking about, and then asked what I ordered. I told him which salad and why (no tortilla). He asked who told me it had no tortilla, and I told him his menu said that. His response was that I could not trust any menu at any restaurant. His menus have lots of mistakes and that was one of them. I guess I might try them again... then again maybe not.

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This is exactly why I do it the way I do, that is, I try to get as far up the food chain :D in the restaurant as possible when I order. Wait staff aren't necessarily food professionals, they can be just students for example. And a menu doesn't necessarily list all details of a dish so you can end up with surprises.

All that said, I would probably give the place a second chance and if it doesn't work out that time either, just look for somewhere else to eat... :)

Pauliina

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When I send food back I always say "please make me a new one because now there might be crumbs in this one which will make me sick." If you get a chance to look at the food that you're sending back try to remember a distinguishing feature (like there's two tomatoes on one side of the plate) so you know if it's a new one they bring out. And when the waiter seems completely clueless, I just ask to speak to the chef.


Gluten-Free since September 15, 2005.

Peanut-Free since July 2006.

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One other thing - gluten-free menus at chain restaurants are probably pretty good. But at little local restaurants, you should still ask about the gluten-free status of these items. I was at a local restaurant that had fried tofu on the menu. This seemed a little suspicious to me since I knew their egg rolls were not gluten-free. Turns out the tofu was fried in the same oil as non-gluten-free items. I called the manager the next day, and he's doing his best, but still learning about gluten-free. He simply didn't realize this small amount of CC could be an issue. Once I talked to him he told me he'd take it off the menu, but it's still something to look out for.


Gluten-Free since September 15, 2005.

Peanut-Free since July 2006.

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Thought of another tip: I try to ask about ingredients as early as possible. The waiter will probably stop by the table three times before you officially order. If I can start asking about ingredients on the first or second time he stops by, he can work on finding ingredients without holding up the rest of my group ordering food.


Gluten-Free since September 15, 2005.

Peanut-Free since July 2006.

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My daughter works on the weekends in a restaurant and just so you know your not alone... half the people who order ask for "special" things.... many people in this day and age have food allergies or sensitivities. There are a lot of special diets out there, its certainly not just you and most restaurants are use to the requests and such.

This is really what worries me .... how many of those "half the people" actually have celiac disease or a real severe allergy?

Basically I wory the resto's are becoming complacent? Even if it isn't half and just seems like it many of the resto's must get almost bored with the countless "special needs"


Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. (JC, De Bello Gallico Liber III/XVIII)

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