Best Practices for Accommodating Food Allergies

Written by Brittany Paguni, Account Specialist

Why Restaurants Must Take Food Allergies Seriously?

It is crucial to take food allergies seriously because they can cause severe and potentially life-threatening reactions. For individuals with food allergies, even small amounts of an allergen can trigger a range of symptoms, from hives and nausea to anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can lead to breathing difficulties, a drop in blood pressure, and even death. By taking food allergies seriously, restaurants can ensure the safety and well-being of their customers, prevent potential lawsuits and negative publicity, and enhance their reputation for quality and customer care. Additionally, accommodating food allergies can expand the restaurant's customer base and appeal to a wider audience, leading to increased revenue and profitability. Ultimately, taking food allergies seriously is not only a matter of legal and ethical responsibility but also a smart business strategy for any restaurant.

Here are some best practises for accommodating customers with allergies:

  1. Train your staff - Make sure that all staff members are trained to handle customers with allergies, including how to communicate with them, how to identify allergens, and how to handle cross-contamination.
  2. Offer a detailed menu - Provide a detailed menu that lists all of the ingredients used in each dish and clearly labels any dishes that contain common allergens such as nuts, dairy, or gluten.
  3. Be transparent - If a customer asks about the ingredients in a dish, be transparent about the ingredients and any possible allergens.
  4. Offer substitutions - Offer substitutions or modifications to dishes to accommodate customers with allergies, such as dairy-free cheese or gluten-free pasta.
  5. Avoid cross-contamination - Use separate utensils, cutting boards, and cooking equipment to avoid cross-contamination of allergens.
  6. Take allergies seriously - Take allergies seriously and handle them with care, as they can be life-threatening for some customers.
  7. Consider having an allergy - Consider having a dedicated section of the menu that is allergy-friendly, or create an entirely separate menu for customers with allergies.
  8. Be prepared for emergencies - Have an emergency plan in place in case a customer experiences an allergic reaction while dining at your establishment.

In terms of what is and isn't acceptable for accommodation, it is important to take every allergy seriously and do your best to accommodate customers' needs. It is not acceptable to dismiss or downplay a customer's allergy or to take shortcuts that could lead to cross-contamination. However, it is also important to communicate any limitations or restrictions to customers, such as if certain allergens are used in the kitchen and cannot be completely avoided.


Accommodating customers with allergies requires careful attention to detail and a commitment to safety and transparency. By implementing these best practices, you can ensure that all customers feel welcome and safe while dining at your establishment.

Get The Secret Recipe to Running a Profitable Restaurant

About Geordy Murphy

From concept developer and restaurant general manager, to corporate chef and marketing director, Murphy has been the lead executive in a number of the country’s most prominent restaurants and bars.Connect with Geordy on

Related Posts

How Restaurants Are Coping With The Hybrid Workplace Movement

The hybrid workplace model has put a chunk of customers out of reach. Restaurants that did not adapt eventually closes shop

What Restaurant Tech Is Coming In 2022?

In this article, we will take a look at the restaurant technology trends that are likely to have an impact on how restaurants operate in the future.

The 6 Most Important Numbers To Know To Increase Your Restaurant

In the restaurant industry, margins can be very small. “Finding and applying specific data trends can save an operator 2% or 3%, and that’s a big deal.”