Thursday, September 10, 2015

Food allergies and restaurants

Dealing with severe food allergies is always a challenge and more so when eating out. I have a severe allergy to shellfish which means if calamari is fried in the same oil as other food it limits what I can eat in any restaurant.

What I have been noticing the last while and it is starting to bother me is I feel like I am being punished or discriminated against because I have such a food allergy. Recently I went out for a lunch to a new restaurant and decided to have a hamburger and yes it was to come with fries. I asked if I could possibly have something other than the fries because of my severe food allergies to shellfish. The girl immediately said yes and said I could have either a garden or caesar salad instead of the fries. I was pretty happy that they would make a substitution without any issues until I got the bill. Because I substituted the fries for a caesar salad I was charged an additional $2.50 for the salad but never told that the charge would be made. If I had of been given a choice of maybe a garden for no charge and the caesar for a charge I may have done for the garden salad.

The problem that I am really having issue with is, being charged and not being told up front that an additional charge will be incurred. I understand that some substitutions would cost but I would like to know up front what the cost is and let me make a choice of what I am going to have. This surprise charge on a bill is very upsetting to me because this is happening more and more.

I did talk to a server at another restaurant and she was saying that they have to notify the customer of any additional charges for substitutions or extras. I think this is what all restaurants should be doing because the extra cost should be my choice if I have it or not. Also please explain why something that is being substituted costs so much extra. You are doing away with one food and replacing it with another. Now I understand a caesar salad may cost a little bit more than fries but really $2.50 extra that would probably be like adding another side to the meal.

I can see restaurants charging something for some substitutions especially if you just want to replace something. For those of us with severe food allergies it would be nice to get something without always having to pay for the changes in some restaurants. I didn't ask you to fry the calamari with the other foods so why am I the one that is being punished for your method of operation. What I also want is if there is a rule that all substitutions incur a cost let me know that the cost of the substitution is and if there are different costs for different choices and let me decide what I want.

For me what I don't like is feeling like I am being punished because I have the food allergies. I didn't ask to have them and I don't like having them but I have to live with them. Food allergies aren't something that we can simply forget and ignore when we are eating out because one wrong step could result in a hospital visit or worse.

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