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National Restaurant Association - 5 tips on serving gluten-free guests

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5 tips on serving gluten-free guests

This month is Celiac Awareness Month, which aims to make more people aware that they may have the disease, a genetic autoimmune disease that damages the small intestine. By eating gluten-free foods, the symptoms can be eliminated.

Gluten is a protein found in grains like barley, wheat and rye. For Celiac sufferers, eating them can cause a wide range of digestive issues.

Of the approximately 3 million people in the United States with Celiac Disease, only 5 percent know they have it.

If you are serving Celiac or gluten sensitive customers at your restaurant, there are some guidelines you can follow to ensure their safety and comfort. William Weichelt, director of our ServSafe program, offers these five tips so your gluten-free guests are happy and satisfied:

  1. Take it seriously. Take all gluten-free requests seriously to ensure your guests receive the meal they requested. This will turn them into loyal, return customers.
     
  2. Be honest. If you’re asked a question about a gluten-free item and you’re not sure of the answer, tell the customer and offer to ask the chef or manager if they have more information.
     
  3. Have processes in place. The more policies and procedures you have in place, the more confident you’ll be serving gluten-free diners, and the more confident they’ll be if you can define steps taken to prepare their meal.
     
  4. Clean, sanitize and repeat. Even if you just cleaned and sanitized your prep area and equipment, take precautions and do it again. This reduces potential for cross-contact when preparing food.
     
  5. Train staff to help make menu suggestions. Making sure servers know about gluten-free options on your menu will help improve your customers’ dining experience. It also reduces the need for staff to consult with the chef or manager on ingredients in certain dishes.

Want more information on serving guests with food allergies? Check out our ServSafe Allergens program.

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