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How Can Restaurants Adapt to Modern Dietary Quirks

In my youth, my parents would take me to Joes Steakhouse in Montreal where we would eat massive rib steaks on wooden cutting boards with copious amounts of butter and sour cream lathered on baked potatoes. Posh dining equivalent might include a chateaubriand for two, expertly prepared tableside.

While cognizant of my own rose-colored glasses, I still recall that no one back in the day seemed to have any food allergies or restrictions order what you want was the name of the game. Today, however, those who dine unrestricted are in the minority. A dinner amongst friends may include the following: vegan, vegetarian, Jain (no products that end a life cycle including root vegetables), kosher, halal, pescatarian, pollo-pescatarian, ketogenic, lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, nut allergies, no carb, shellfish allergies and so on.

Everyone eats, yes, but the peculiarities of our own dietary codes have become a constant topic of conversation, as well as a consternation for audacious chefs who must know appease all parties. Nevertheless, as hoteliers who invite and accept all persons of all dispositions into our homes, we must do our best to satisfy our guests. So, what can you do?

1.    Train your waitstaff to always ask every diner about dietary restrictions and food allergies. It starts with online reservations. Often a diner with special requests will advise when prompted during the initial booking. Your team should identify these notes at the time of the diners arrival and identify the individuals who are making the special request. It is not up to us as hoteliers and restaurateurs to question why a restriction exists, no matter how unusual the situation. Servers must take particular care to advise the chef and to give the right dish to the right person, as even a minor mistake here can have disastrous consequences.

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