Restaurateurs need to get tough with diners claiming allergies – Helen Martin

ALLERGIES have become such a deadly – and legal – matter that restaurants, takeaways and sandwich shops have to be 100 per cent in control of labelling and serving.

Monday, 2nd December 2019, 6:00 am
How many diners have genuine allergies to the likes of seafood?
How many diners have genuine allergies to the likes of seafood?

But now poor Edinburgh restaurateurs confess they are suffering from (what I would call) stupid, spoiled, ignorant customers who “play games” with all that.

They say they’re vegan – and order venison and chocolate crème brulee. They say they are allergic to rare seafood (most seafood has to be lightly cooked), but order calamari. They’d probably like aphrodisiac oysters too.

Do these people make up their ‘allergies’ when it’s something they just don’t normally like? “No eggs for me – but I’ll have a souffle.”

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If someone books a table saying they are vegan or have allergies, the restaurant probably prepares alternatives for them which cost more time or labour, wasted when they aren’t ordered.

I defend those with genuine allergies to enjoy eating out. So do restaurants. I’m allergic to bananas and plantains so there are certain places I have to avoid.

But if I owned a restaurant and a customer told me they were allergic to dairy foods yet ordered such a dish, I’d feel obliged to refuse them. “I can’t take responsibility for you becoming ill,” would sound like a reasonable response. Though I’m on the side of restaurateurs, I wish they’d do that. They might lose a diner and their table for one night, but they might also teach these irritating people to stop lying.

if a serious allergic reaction really was the result, would a lawyer blame the restaurant and expert chef for allowing a customer to order and eat something to which they stated they were allergic?