Dining Tips

Dining out can be a stressful experience for individuals with food allergies, particularly to those newly-diagnosed. Adding to that stress can be the knowledge that eating at a restaurant with family, friends, co-workers and others is part of the social fabric of our country. Fortunately, just about all food-allergic individuals can (and do) dine out regularly.The key is being prepared and knowing what to do.

We have compiled these tips to help you in your efforts
and wish you many happy restaurant experiences

Conduct advanced research

Use AllergyRate and other resources to determine which restaurants to visit and which to avoid. The restaurant search feature on the AllergyRate app and website provides peer-based ratings and feedback from the food allergy community about the “allergy-friendliness” of individual restaurants. Also, check restaurants’ websites and menus before visiting, and call ahead to discuss your specific needs.

Be prepared

Even the most conscientious and well-trained restaurants can make mistakes.  There are no guarantees.  Always carry two epinephrine auto-injectors, Benadryl or your other allergy medications. No exceptions.

Inform the staff about your food allergies and watch their reactions closely.

At the restaurant, speak with the server, manager, and/or chef about your food allergies (whoever it takes to help make you feel comfortable dining there).  When you speak with them, make eye contact and watch their facial expressions. Do they freeze? Do they have that deer-in-the-deadlights look?  Those are danger signs that the restaurant might not be allergy-friendly.  We’ve found that the most accommodating restaurants are actually proud of their ability to serve food-allergic guests, with staff members often enthusiastic about explaining their food allergy policies and confident in answering your questions.  If you get concerned looks, a lot of stammering, or answers that shatter your confidence, strongly consider leaving and finding another restaurant.