Managing the nuances of marketing in the food world is challenging enough, but in recent years, food allergies has added to the mix. An estimated 15 million Americans have food allergies, and although there is no clear answer for them, restaurants are often the backdrop for the dramatic confusion that can result if they are not communicated clearly.
Menus are often crowded with offerings, options and choices. Additionally, if your allergy friendly options aren’t clearly posted, you lose operational time (or even potential business!) as the patron will have to ask the server which options can be prepared without a specific allergen, the server then asks the chef who will need to decide what solution is possible, or propose an alternate food item, then the server must return to the patron and convey the information only to have this procedure repeated on multiple occasions throughout your meal service. How can you use your Retriever Digital Signage to clear up the confusion? Let’s get started!
To begin, there are 14 substances or products that most allergy suffers must be alert for:
- Gluten (the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut or any derived strain thereof)
- Tree nuts (almond, hazelnut, walnut, cashew, coconut, pecan, Brazil, pistachio and Macadamia)
- Sulphur dioxide
When you as the proprietor of a food or drink business know what the individual ingredients are in your products, you’ve already gained an advantage that will help you build customer loyalty. When patrons ask your servers about your ingredients, they can answer with certainty that brings comfort as eating outside the home with severe food allergies is often an unpleasant and stressful experience.
Arming your servers and hosts with this information is beneficial, but also having slides on your Retriever Digital Signage that rotate frequently alerting your patrons to allergy friendly offerings, helps to take the guesswork and anxiety off your patrons. A slide that proudly declares that you do Gluten Free substitutions for sides or bread, will allow for an increased confidence in how much you care for those who fill your tables each day.
In some cases, a slides that simply states you have an allergy friendly available are appropriate. If you are a smaller establishment, it might not be possible to have dedicated fryers or pans, but there may be items you routinely prepare that would be safe for your patrons with food allergies. Listing those items on a separate menu that is kept at the hostess desk is all well and good, but informing your patrons via tv signage that it’s available is even better!
Slides that highlight your desserts free of Tree Nuts or Dairy give your patrons something to look forward to! They’ve already dined in your allergy-aware establishment, and the knowledge that they can end their meal with an indulgence goes the extra mile in creating a loyal customer.
Did you notice the mention of loyalty throughout this blog post? We mention this because when an individual or family deals with food allergies that limit where they can go and what they can eat or drink, they become very attached to places that look out for them. Establishments that are informed and proactive about potential food allergens and have solutions available for their patrons gain loyalty that leads to word of mouth publicity. Ultimately, the recommendation of a loyal customer is the best advertising a restaurant can ask for!