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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

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Applebee's Restaurant - Gluten Free Menu
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I just found out that Applebee's now has a gluten-free menu (along with other allergen menus). I remember years ago I basically was told there was nothing on the menu I could eat and they didn't want me to serve me! Times sure do change!

The Gluten-free menu can be found on Applebee's website under the link for allergen information (similar to "Chili's" and "On the Border" allergen menus). Applebees are found throughout the U.S.

A word of caution - they specifically outline cross-contact issues, etc., so you really need to ask all the right questions. Eating out is risky.

Sue

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I just looked at their allergen information and I didn't see anything for gluten. Only a wheat allergen page. Did I miss something? The copy on their website states it is effective through 7/12.

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I just looked at their allergen information and I didn't see anything for gluten. Only a wheat allergen page. Did I miss something? The copy on their website states it is effective through 7/12.

I'm assuming they're calling it a wheat allergy rather than celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Chilis menu says wheat and gluten allergy. Their wording's not great.

What concerns me tho, is that they list french fries as safe, but they also have fried onion rings and other fried things at Applebees. I'd question them good about that one!

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FYI, it is not safe! They do not take any of the proper precautions! Those are just items that are naturally gluten-free. I just went there last week and got sick almost immediately! I have contacted corporate and informed them that just because the items are gluten-free doesn't mean they're safe if they don't use proper protocol.

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I cannot stress enough my agreement with mamabear. APPLEBEE'S IS NOT SAFE FOR ANYONE WITH A FOOD ALLERGY OR INTOLERANCE!!! Ask others or look at allergy review sites - they are one of the worst rated chains by our peers.

It's great that Applebee's has allergen and gluten lists, but they do not train their staff to take allergies or gluten-free seriously and they do not understand the risks of cross-contamination.

Further, while they change their menu often, THEY DO NO FORWARD THE NEW ALLERGEN LISTS TO THEIR INDIVIDUAL RESTAURANTS! That's right - those are there for your eyes only. Individual restaurant managers are not told to check for updated allergen lists either. Food-allergic or gluten-free diners have to hope that the manager printed out the most recent list; otherwise, eating there can be even more dangerous than if they didn't have a list!

Dining out with food allergies and gluten-free is my expertise and my full-time business. I have no personal gripe against Applebee's. I've tried hard to show them how valuable (let alone "right") it would be to cater to our community. They have no interest. Restaurant behavior is dictated from the top. If the top isn't interested in accommodating our community, neither will most of the restaurants.

That's why so many Applebee's are rated so poorly - not just an isolated incident here or there.

So until they make the conscious choice to be more allergy and gluten-free-friendly, please make the responsible and safe choice to dine elsewhere... almost anywhere else!

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I have eaten at a FATZ pretty sucessfully. However this was well over a year ago before I became more sensitive. The wait staff was great and if they had a question they went and asked the chef/cook. I had the waitress even come back and told me that the chef would be more than happy to make me some safe FF in a seperate pan/oil. WOW! I decided to go with the salad instead because I was still scared. But They understood so I was impressed. They have allergen info for their menu also.

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I have eaten at Applebees twice and twice been very sick. The last time the server understood (or so she said) celiac and CC. All I had was a salad and still was very sick. I would rather wait in the car while everyone else dines than go inside.

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Yeah, also not impressed with Applebee's. I was taking a road trip to FL and wanted one nice dinner out. I looked up their gluten-free list online, saw that they had one, but it wasn't like an actual gluten-free menu. When I got there the hostess had no idea what I was talking about, but she found a manager who did. The manager brought me a binder with the same list I had seen online, along with all of the other allergen info lists. Half of the stuff on the list wasn't even on their regular menu. They then sent me a waitress who said she had celiac relatives, so she knew not to bring me bread, etc. I ordered conservatively, since I had seen enough on this site to know not to trust them. I got a steak, some mashed potatoes, and their veg of the day, broccoli. It was mediocre for restaurant food, and although I didn't have a full-blown reaction it seemed of all the risk I had to take on the trip, this was the one that caused me some internal distress. And it was a crappy steak even if I didn't have celiac. Which was a shame, because I couldn't even say that the dinner out was worth the reaction!

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Friends invited us to eat with them after church and they took us to Applebee's. They had a coupon which is why they chose the place. I looked at their online gluten-free menu and decided the spinach salad with grilled shrimp would be safe. I was still unsure of the hot bacon dressing so I ordered Italian on the side.

My salad came with five pathetic little quarter-sized shrimp on top. They had left off the bacon and all that remained was a few specks of chopped tomato and pepper. The rest was spinach that obviously came out of one of those dreadful bags. Apparently when I asked to substitute the bacon dressing, they assumed I didn't want the bacon, either.

I was never impressed with them before and I certainly am not impressed now! At least I didn't get sick which actually surprised me.

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I work at our local Applebee's and just found out that I have celiac disease. I know that with a little help from your server that you can have a very positive gluten free meal from any Applebee's. I would question about the fries or anything fried for that matter but other than that I think the staff along with the manager could help you enjoy a healthy meal. I had the oriental chicken salad there just yesterday and I ordered my chicken grilled and had them leave off the rice noodles and it was GREAT!

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I work at our local Applebee's and just found out that I have celiac disease. I know that with a little help from your server that you can have a very positive gluten free meal from any Applebee's. I would question about the fries or anything fried for that matter but other than that I think the staff along with the manager could help you enjoy a healthy meal. I had the oriental chicken salad there just yesterday and I ordered my chicken grilled and had them leave off the rice noodles and it was GREAT!

I think of an oriental chicken salad and I think of soy sauce. Did it not have soy sauce in the salad dressing, which normally contains wheat?

Welcome to the forum!

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jr -

How does your unit prevent cross-contamination? How do the servers communicate to the kitchen? Where is the separate preparation area? How is the gluten-free meal communicated from the kitchen back to the server? And most importantly, how does corporate train all of the employees in the 2000 nationwide units, 90% of which are franchised? Asking these questions on a forum is an incredible softball since you can think as long as you want about the right answers.

I have never heard of an Applebee's training employees in anything but putting an allergen/gluten book in front of people (and corporate doesn't even tell the units when that book is updated - they told me this directly - kind of important since so much of the food is prepackaged and shipped in). In fact, Applebee's fought hard NOT to have me inquire about their practices.

I just ran a yet-to-be-published phone survey that will be enlightening. Even on the phone, before the lunch rush, only about half of Applebee's managers could answer allergy/gluten-free questions adequately. That doesn't bode well for how finely trained the entire staff is and how they can handle a dinner rush.

And if I may be as blunt as possible, I find the fact that this is your first post as very suspicious. I've already had a similar experience on a separate blog from an individual who didn't realize his IP address could be traced to his location. Of course, Lenexa, KS is a bustling metropolis.

Sorry to challenge your credibility, but anyone who claims that "I know that with a little help from your server that you can have a very positive gluten free meal from any Applebee's" hasn't dined there more than once or twice... let alone at a significant percentage of the 2000. If you are in fact being genuine, then I wonder if you'll be willing to stand behind your claims after a few visits to other Applebee's units you don't work at.

I hope one day I can be proven wrong. I've challenged Applebee's corporate and I've shared with them the economic upside. I told them I would praise their efforts publicly as they began the change process. Nothing. No desire. Then again, with the franchise model, corporate has less to gain than if they ran the units themselves. Eh... let the franchisees fend for themselves.

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I think of an oriental chicken salad and I think of soy sauce. Did it not have soy sauce in the salad dressing, which normally contains wheat?

Welcome to the forum!

I also remember reading here in the past that the chicken in and of itself is not gluten-free.

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And if I may be as blunt as possible, I find the fact that this is your first post as very suspicious. I've already had a similar experience on a separate blog from an individual who didn't realize his IP address could be traced to his location. Of course, Lenexa, KS is a bustling metropolis.

Her IP does not trace to Kansas. What is your point?

Sorry to challenge your credibility, but anyone who claims that "I know that with a little help from your server that you can have a very positive gluten free meal from any Applebee's" hasn't dined there more than once or twice... let alone at a significant percentage of the 2000. If you are in fact being genuine, then I wonder if you'll be willing to stand behind your claims after a few visits to other Applebee's units you don't work at.

Um, you have something to back up this I presume. Please share your facts to support this. Share them here, with support in the form of links to sites other than your own.

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I think of an oriental chicken salad and I think of soy sauce. Did it not have soy sauce in the salad dressing, which normally contains wheat?

Welcome to the forum!

I just looked that their website. Not only does that salad contain breaded, fried chicken, but they have a disclaimer on their website saying that they can not make the food safe for people with food allergies.

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psawyer,

There's a "statistical significance" factor that you know I can't quote here without backing it up in the form of self-promotion (and frankly, historical posts on your site backs this up as well). That said, I feel strongly compelled to share what is so obvious about Applebee's anyway and I don't think it is wrong to inquire of the first-time poster about the processes and procedures that he/she feels makes Applebee's such a safe choice. I think it is worth asking these questions to help others from getting sick.

Paul

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The head quarters of Appleby's is in Lenexa. This poster probably has such good luck because she works at a restaurant. The cooks know her and cook for her when they aren't too busy.

I live where the corporate offices are and even before gluten-free, we had horrible dining experiences. I figure if they were that bad in KC where the bosses are, how awful they might be elsewhere. The gluten-free menu clearly states that they will cc. It's really more a gluten light menu. Perhaps, if we could get that waitress, we might do OK.

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I just went to Applebee's the other night with some friends and was going to order an appetizer since after 9pm they are half off. The only appetizer that is gluten-free is the queso blanco which is white queso dip. I talked with the waitress and she knew about celiac disease and that I needed it to be prepared separately. My appetizer took a little longer than my friends because they were making sure it was done properly. Somebody else in my group also had the queso dip and they got theirs before mine. I didn't get sick. I know not all Applebee's are the same, but I think if you get the right people, or the right restaurant, you can have a good experience. :)

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Applebee's is horrible when it comes to making sure that allergies are attended to. I cannot stress enough, it's not a good place to eat unless you get a salad with no meat on it.

I've worked at my local restaurant for half a year now, and am still astounded at things my manager says, or how I'm sent over to talk to the guests who have Celiac because the servers aren't trained in how to accommodate allergies.

The gluten free menu lists potato skins and potato twisters as gluten free, then they are fried in the SAME oil as flour. When bringing this up with my manager, he (knowing I have Celiac's) asked me if I was sure, and then said "You don't think that 400 degrees burns the gluten away?!" as if I was an idiot for even considering the possibility of CC. Same with the oriental chicken salad, the chicken is FRIED (you can ask for grilled chicken for no up charge, but it's still cooked on the same grill).

The cooks aren't trained for allergies, either. For food I'm getting for myself, I've had to ask them to cool another burger for me since they put it on a bun, and acted like I was just doing it to get in their way. Same with croutons on my salad. Both times, my order clearly stated to leave these things out, but they ignored it.

Sorry for the long and rambling post, but it still astounds me how carelessly management treats food allergies.

My manager is probably the worst. A customer asked if a new menu item was gluten free, and his response? "Let's go with yes," Without looking at anything.

Works stations in the kitchen are rarely cleaned, hands are rarely washed between touching different food, I've noticed the containers they heat up the mashed potatoes in sometimes have residue from other food.

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We take a risk whenever we eat out...but...I have been to Applebees twice and sick twice. That's enough for me.

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