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Eating At Ihop

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I have had great success with a couple of restaurants (Cheesecake Factory and Pizzeria Uno) with very polite begging.

I explained that my son was allergic to wheat (yeah, yeah, we all know it's not an allergy, I just chose the most concise way to communicate the need), and just DEVASTATED that he could no longer eat pizza, and was there any way that the chef could make him a "pizza" on a corn tortilla, PLEEEEEZE? (Cheesecake Factory had items with corn tortillas on their menu already, and we brought corn tortillas with us to Pizzeria Uno.) And in both cases, we arrived at the restaurant at 5, well ahead of the dinner rush.

In both cases, either the manager or the chef came out to ask my son how it tasted. He was thrilled.

Absolutely right on target! You know the best way to handle this type of situation. I agree with everything you said, even the "allergic to wheat etc." part. It is the best way to convey our need without giving a medical terminology lesson to an already busy restaurant staff. They know how to handle allergies (like peanut, egg, milk) so it is the simplest solution.

Go early or late, be extremely polite and patient with your waitstaff, speak with a chef if possible and always tip big so they will be willing to help again next time.


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If a "restaurant" is not obligated to feed you, then what is their other purpose!? I agree with the politeness issue, but people please, don't go saying things that really aren't true.

It's a business transaction. If you are disturbing the patrons, they can throw you out. If tell them you want to eat but aren't going to pay, they have no obligation to provide service.

A grocery store has no obligation to provide food you want to buy. A clothing store has no obligation to sell you clothes. Are car dealership has no obligation to cater to your desires. They do it because they want to get paid.

If a restaurant determines that the potential liabilities outweigh what they'll get paid, they won't serve you.

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I am constantly eating @ the IHOP here in Dallas after some late nights @ the bar. While I have never had a glutening attack, I also order the same things everytime. I only get fresh egg omelets or the breakfast sampler with absolutely no pancakes. I wish that could eat other items & sometimes want to chance it but I don't. It is wonderful that more & more restaurants are educated & accommodating to those of us with food sensitivities but it is definitely not the norm or a requirement. To be completely honest unless a place has a gluten-free menu I mostly don't even mention it to the wait person. I am just very careful & precise about my order & say it as nicely as possible. That usually gets me what I want & if not b/c I was so nice they are more than happy to fix something that is wrong when I finally bring up my gluten allergy. I like how it was put earlier, Eating out is a privilege not a right for me. This is so true & a fact it took me forever to come to terms with this! No restaurant employee (unless I know them personally) is going to give a crap about my special needs & I shouldn't expect them too. Alot of this next part comes from the fact I am young so I still have many friends in the industry, but take the advice that was given to me... Kindness goes a looooong way. Be specific & nice when you order. And if they go above & beyond, PLEASE tip good! A terrible first experience with a person with allergies can ruin the wait person's opinion of all of us & they are waaaaay less likely to help future customers with the problem!!!

Sorry for the rant just thought I would pass on my 2 cents...

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My mind keeps going back to the disappointed little boy :( It must have

made him feel like he has something bad that no one wants to deal with.

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The attitude of the waitress in the scenario - flippant, ignorant and put off by something she didn't seem willing to even try to understand - is why I almost never go out to eat anymore. No, the restaurant is not obligated to serve anyone, but it's their business to do so. They don't have to be accommodating, but giving even a rude customer the time of day, even if the place of business is in the middle of a rush, would go a long way, especially with many other customers watching what was going on. I could swear that I've read on this board that restaurant staff members want to make the customer happy so that they'll actually come back.

We don't know the situation, and I do wonder if the parent figure was someone other than a parent since the little boy gave the waitress the info. I think most of us have been in the situation where the last place we'd like to eat or eating out is our only option.

I'm not condoning the rudeness of the adult, but my experience is that most of the time, the restaurant waitstaff and management want to make our experience such that we want to come back often. It does sound like the woman with the child had an entitlement mentality, which doesn't work too well in most settings.

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Interesting. I'll echo what another poster said, that I rarely mention my gluten-free requirements to waitstaff unless they have a gluten-free menu. I'll order something precisely to exclude items I can't eat (croutons on salad, etc.) and stick to items that should be gluten-free anyway, say, steak and a baked potato. Using the words "dry" or "plain" in many places will communicate that you want no seasoning, marinade or sauce of any kind on your food. Be specific, be polite. My mother in law does the same and she is not gluten-free, she's unapologetically picky :rolleyes: I actually find it very easy to cook for her!

Last time I went Brio, I think I scared the young man waiting on our table with my explanation. He came back to explain that the pork chops I had ordered did in fact have breadcrumbs as a coating, but he could recommend a different dish that the chef assured him would be wheat free, and goodness he was so apologetic *I* was embarrassed. I did really appreciate his efforts though, and had a wonderful meal. I felt bad afterwords, I forgot his name when I sent the establishment a thank-you note.

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