Great customer experience is the main aim of all restaurants. This includes providing a fast customer experience & amazing food. Restaurants cater for all kinds of customers. Therefore, it is essential that they are mindful of all the requirements their customers can make. This also includes creating an allergen-free menu. Allergens are the food components that can trigger or cause allergies when consumers. Any restaurant’s allergen menu is created keeping in mind the various allergies and food preferences customers have.
When it comes to the Indian restaurant industry, we are still far behind the West in labelling our edibles, either on the shelves or on our tables, for allergies. But in recent times, there has been a major shift in the perspective. There are multiple factors which are working in the favour of this. First is the rise in customers’ awareness. More and more customers are now aware of the products they are consuming. They are doing market research about various ingredients present on the packing label. And in fact, do not find the brand reliable if there is no mention of the key ingredients or the nutrition facts. The same also applies to the F&B retail segment.
Why Do You Need A Menu With Allergen Statement?
Taking care of customer preferences is the main task of restaurants. And so, it is their job to provide detail about the ingredients and components of the items being served in the restaurants. There are many people who are allergic to various types of ingredients. While most of these allergies are not dangerous, they can be deadly too depending on the quantity of intake.
In many countries, not including an allergen statement in the menu can lead to legal disputes. In India however, an allergen disclaimer is not mandatory in the menus. But including details about allergens in the restaurant menu has been recently necessitated even by FSSAI. If you don’t have a restaurant allergen-free menu yet, then this is your queue to update it!
How To Create Restaurant Allergen Menu?
Creating an allergen-free menu might seem a difficult task at first. Considering that there are many types of ingredients used in cooking and various times which get served in the restaurants, what to exempt could be a little confusing. Along with exempting the components from the menu, the chef and the kitchen staff also have to make sure that the quality and taste are not compromised.
1. Learn About Allergens
Including allergens in the restaurant menus is a comparatively new concept. And so, many restauranteurs are not aware of different types of allergies and allergies caused by food. The first step of creating a safe menu would be to learn about all of them or at least most of them. It might be of help to get in touch with your local allergist. Allergists are the people who are experts in diagnosing and treating various kinds of allergies. Reading about different food items which trigger allergies can also be helpful. There are a few common items which can trigger allergies.
- Egg, Meat & Fish
- Mustard & Sesame
- Lemon or citric food
2. Train Your Chefs And Staff
Chefs who have trained and worked in the industry for a considerable amount of time are always aware of all the possible allergens. But your restaurant staff, waiters, captains and billers might not. And so, it becomes the task of the owners to coordinate with the back-of-house staff and front-of-the-house staff to learn about them.
Along with learning about allergens, giving basic training about providing basic treatment in case of an emergency is also essential. Restaurants are also suggested to keep a basic first-aid kit for allergy medication handy for any such incidents.
3. Confirm With The Customers
The first step of making sure that your customers are safe from allergies is to confirm with them verbally. Small-scale restaurant owners who wish to cater to their customers but cannot invest in revamping the menu can take this option. Firstly by understanding different types of allergens, you can train and educate your staff about coordinating with the customers.
4. Inculcate In The Menu
Including allergens in the restaurant menu is a must. Understanding the shift of customers’ behaviour towards their health has made the restaurants make considerate changes to their menus. There are many ways with which you can include an allergen-free menu in your restaurant menu.
- Display allergens using symbols. Symbols of milk, egg, meat, etc. can be incorporated into the menu. This makes the restaurants look credible for being aware of customer needs.
- Writing clear in the menu. Proving a one-line menu description with a clear list of its key ingredients can help customers know more about the item before ordering.
- Creating an alternative or a similar item exempting the particular ingredients increases customer choices.
- Incorporating the same changes on the website and online ordering menus makes your potential customer aware of the many options available.
Customers are always looking for businesses which consider their demands & provide great services. Restaurants that can make the needed changes to accommodate all the customers increase their customer loyalty and reach more customers.
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