How to reduce the risk of allergic reactions in your food business

Did you know that it’s estimated that two million people in the UK live with a diagnosed food allergy?

A food allergy is when a person’s body mistakenly treats protein found in food as a threat, resulting in mild to severe anaphylaxis. As an owner of an establishment that serves or sells food, you will know it’s essential to notify your customers of any allergens that may be present in the food you serve. There are 14 major allergens that you must disclose by law: celery, gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs, mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide, sulphites and tree nuts.

Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can ensure you reduce the risk of an allergic reaction and keep your patrons safe.

Step one: Keep your customers informed.

The perfect example of keeping your customers informed is set by Nando’s with their Nando’s Allergy Book that lists the exact ingredients of every dish you can order from their restaurant chain.

Your food business can also follow this example by putting your menu in your customers’ hands. You can achieve this by labelling your dishes with the correct allergens they contain through the food2go ordering solution. It allows you to add each dish or product and list ingredients and any potential allergens, putting your customer’s minds at ease by clearly informing them.

Step two: Train your staff.

Your employees can make a big difference if you train them to know about food allergies. When customers arrive at your establishment, ensure that your staff ask if any party members have any food allergies. If the answer is yes – make sure your team know what next steps to take. By being mindful and asking, they can inform your patrons about what dishes they should avoid, what cooking oils are used in different dishes, and if there are any risks of allergen by-products in dishes through meal preparation.

Ensure your kitchens keep allergen-free products separate from those allergen-filled. For example, your chefs will treat raw chicken very cautiously because of salmonella. Your staff should take the same cautious approach to foods that contain allergens. Once your kitchen staff adopt this approach, it will help prevent major accidents. However, you must clarify to your customers that some products could have allergens present regardless of how much caution your team takes. 

We recommend you maintain a training process that can quickly educate new staff about your approach to serving allergic individuals. Remember that there will always be new regulations about the matter, and teaching your new staff members about food allergies should be just as serious as anything else

Step three: Maintain menu transparency.

Government guidelines make it mandatory for any food business to provide complete allergen information on a menu, chalkboard or in an information pack. You can also place a notice in a visible position encouraging patrons to ask your staff for more information on allergens. 

By implementing an online ordering solution, you can also give your customers the ability to notify the kitchen of any allergy sufferers. Using this information, a dedicated member of staff can be on hand to answer any questions to improve the experience for your customers and allow them to relax and enjoy the experience.

Using technology to be transparent with your customers and making information readily available will not only put their minds at ease but will also help attract new customers to your venue as potential patrons will respect your attention to detail.

Step four: Create better systems!

The food2go digital ordering solution allows your food business to maintain a menu that can be changed and customised whenever new dishes or products are created.

By putting control in your hands, you needn’t worry about relying on others to update your menu or information not being uploaded correctly. You’ll be able to add dishes, customise descriptions and update product information when needed.

How food2go can help

To put your customers’ minds at ease, ensure you’re clearly displaying allergen information. With food2go’s online ordering solution, you can inform your patrons of the allergens present in your food. Offering a positive attitude and unbeatable system will put your customers at ease and create trust, fostering loyalty toward you.

With food2go, you can now administer your store from a single dashboard accessible via any web browser. Allowing you to easily edit your store settings and update your products to ensure you’re doing everything possible to improve the customer experience for those with allergies.

To book a demo of the food2go solution, click here.