Tag Archives: local

A reply to an anti-band rant from a venue…


They sadly had a lot of good points overshadowed by ignorance and arrogance:

I sort of blogged on Facebook itself.  First you have to read the original rant, I’d guess. Here’s what I said:

At first I found this amusing, but the more I read, the more the author seemed like an arrogant prick. Sadly, I agree with a bunch of the points on bad band behavior and have had similar rants as the person trying to organize a show or simply having to put up with the antics of another band.

#21. It shouldn’t hurt to ask.

#22. I think you meant “you’re.”

#23. You’re too cool to have a conversation with someone who may just be bored that they’re there with their kid’s band and they’ve heard all the songs 8004 times?

#35. If you use the R-word, you’re an A-hole. If you use the R-word twice, you’re a double A-hole, and you must shit in stereo.

#36. “Load-In Time.” If it’s a local band and they have a 6:30 load-in time, chances are they’re not going to get there on time. Unfortunately a lot of local musicians have day jobs that have a quitting time of 5:00 or later. Getting to the gig by then may be impossible.

To reply to an overall arc of the list… In general I understand clubs need to have people come to shows or they don’t make money or can’t pay the bands. I understand that a band needs to promote its ass off via word of mouth, flyers, classified and event pages in local rags, social media, and any other way it can… but clubs can do some of that too. I can’t get my head around being a draw. I’ve been in a handful of bands over the years that are generally and sometimes wildly well-received when put in front of a crowd… but have found it difficult to predict a draw or to become a steady one. Sometimes I have brought a crowd, sometimes I couldn’t draw if I had a bucket full of crayons and a stack of paper. How does one gain a steady and loyal following, oh great bringers of so much musical knowledge?

I have played many shows with no pay. I have been paid more than what came in the door at shows. I have bought T-shirts and CD’s from bands who were on tour knowing that was probably the only way they’d eat before they get to the next stop.

Things you missed:

  • Setup/Breakdown – Set your drums up before you get on stage. Take them off, then break them down. Don’t take longer to set up your amp and pedal board than it takes to play your terrible set.
  • Tune silently.
  • Watch the other bands, asshat. Also, don’t play first then take your crowd with you. Hang out, buy drinks, catch another act. Don’t hang out in the parking lot while the other bands are playing then swoop in like a rock star when it’s time for you to play.
  • Don’t complain about the monitor mix after every song, or blame equipment for your epic lack of awesome.

Also:

I should have blogged this, but didn’t think I’d rant that long. Ha ha.

Related reading:

Playlist by the numbers


Lars Frederiksen

Lars Frederiksen

The other day I plugged my crappy old Insignia Pilot into the truck stereo’s auxiliary input,  & I started playing the songs on my trusty & hardly ever updated mp3 player in order by song title.  I have no idea why I decided to take it off of “random”, but I did.  (Sadly, my 500 GB hard drive has stopped working and unless it’s fixed I’ll lose a TON of music, so whatever this Best Buy generic brand mp3 player holds may be it for my collection for a while!)

I thought that “song titles that start with numbers” would be a pretty cool playlist.  I’d thought I’d share some of my favorites.

I noticed I’m missing a song that starts with 8.  Ha ha.  What songs would you put on your numbers playlist?  Dig any of these?

Insignia Pilot

Insignia Pilot

Guest Post: How to book your band.


I’ve posted advice for existing and aspiring bands before, and I thought this email from a pro would be useful.  It was sparked when I saw his Facebook status the other day: “Great way to start the day: my favorite venue in the country complimented my email skills in contacting them to booking a date. It’s the highest praise I could hope for.”

The status went on to some comments & basically the author said he’d share the knowledge with those who cared to learn.  I asked if I could post it in a blog, and here we have it.  If you’re in a band on any level, pay heed to the advice below.

As far as background on Bengt, he’s in a band (& been in many), he records bands, he’s booked bands, and he’s generally been in every part of the scene.  He knows what he’s talking about.

Action Camp

Action Camp

On to the advice & the guest part of this guest post:

♪♫♩♬♩♫♪

Alright, so here is what we usually send like 99% of the time. There always a bit of customization but this is the basic format:

1. Greeting, name the booker if you know it (usually listed on indieonthemove.com or their website)

2. Band name (with a link to the website), genre, location.

3. Date(s) requested in bold. They love that, it makes it easier read. If you can swing 3-5 dates that’s best, it gives them room. Do them a favor and check the website for those dates first, they appreciate that a ton. Also make sure to follow their booking procedure to the T. A lot of places have a specific way they like to work (Facebook message, Sonicbids, email format, etc). If you do it right it shows you listened so you’re already at the top of the pile.

Also, if another band that’s played there before suggested it, tell them so. It’s like introducing yourself to anyone else and starting with saying you have a mutual friend. It’s a job reference.

4. Links to music, video, press – let them decide if they want to book you. The more you talk about how awesome you are and why you should be booked, the more they think you probably suck and are trying to gloss over it. It’s like handing someone your demo and saying it’s not your best work.

5. If you played there or in the city before tell them. If you know what you drew and stuff be honest, they love that.

6. Offer to help build the bill, and specifically name bands you know or have contacted already.

7. Thanks in advance, Thanks for your time, etc.

8. ALL of your contact info including phone numbers. It shows you are easy to reach and you have your shit together.

One final thing: DON’T say someone famous produced your record, quote random blog reviews, list facebook or twitter numbers, anything like that. No one cares about that if they know what their doing in the working touring circuit. Steve Albini producing your record won’t make 100 people come out in Dayton on a Monday night, and facebook and twitter followers are ostensibly your imaginary friends that only you can see. Plus, even you have 4,000 people odds are only 10 of them are near the venue you are trying to book.

Here is exactly what I sent to Southgate House:

Hello Morrella,

We are Action Camp, an art rock duo from Pittsburgh, PA.

We’re looking to see if you have Friday February 15th or Saturday the 16th available to book in the Revival Room – both look open on your calendar but I wasn’t sure if you would do a full house those nights. Our music is pretty different from what’s going on those nights so I’m not concerned about audience bleed over. This would be our 4th time to Southgate, 7th time in 3 years in the Cininnati/Newport scene. We know plenty of bands so we’d throw a bill together with 2 or 3 locals to help support.

- You can hear our music at actioncamp.bandcamp.com or at our website below.
– Here is a recent video from our 2012 summer tour
– And some press from our Winter tour just a couple weeks ago.

If these are unavailable I’d love to work something out in the future. Southgate was/is by far our favorite venue on tour, I can only assume the new house is great. Sincerely, I (Bengt) booked a venue in Pittsburgh, and based many of my practices on the way SGH was run by Rick and his crew.

Previous dates:

Parlour 10/1/2010 (Gallery Opening, free show, 100+ attending)
Parlour 1/2/2010 (w/ Duppy a Jamba, 97 paid)
Parlour Summer 2009 (Flux Capacitors last show, well attended, don’t have stats)

Our most recent dates in the area were both in Cincinnati:

12/8/2012 The Comet Cincinnati, OH (100+, free show)
7/5/2012 Sitwells Coffeehouse Cincinnati, OH (smaller acoustic show, last minute add on tour)

Thanks in advance, can’t wait to see the new place,

- Maura + Bengt (Action Camp)
http://www.action-camp.com
actioncamp@gmail.com
###.###.####

So that’s it, pretty simple. Just be honest and to the point. I also should point out that this was 1 of 10 venues we emailed on Christmas, and he got back just a day later with this response:

“Thanks for writing. Those dates aren’t announced yet, but they are spoken for. How about Wed Feb 13, or Sun Feb 17?

“PS – very well done email, especially listing previous show turnouts. You’re way ahead of the curve on that one, and it did persuade me to jump on this, and get you in!”

I always email every venue that would work for us in a city, it’s better to have choices than no show at all.

Hope this all helps,

- Maura + Bengt (Action Camp)
http://www.action-camp.com
actioncamp@gmail.com
###.###.####

♪♫♩♬♩♫♪

So, there you have it.  Got it?  Good.  Doing research in advance before you ask for dates seems like a no-brainer, but apparently it needs to be said.  I guess some bands naturally put more thought into stuff.

I’m not sure how you’d approach this if you had no previous gigs in an area… perhaps we can get Bengt to comment further for new bands, first time tours, etc.?

Check out the Action Camp video here:

Dormont-Brookline Patch


Dormont-Brookline Patch LogoSo, I’ve been a reader of the Dormont-Brookline Patch for a while now.  It’s sort of like an online local paper.  I’ve even commented on quite a few things.  There’s all kinds of stuff going on in these two neighborhoods, as well as the surrounding areas.  It’s a great way to stay informed, and it’s one of the first things I added to Google Reader.

AiXeLsyD13I recently became a blogger on the patch, and you’ll be able to follow my rantings & misadventures here: AiXeLsyD13 on Patch

It will most likely be short blurbs pointing to the general chaos here, but every once in a while I may be inspired to give it some exclusive content.  Maybe I’ll blog about local events, places, etc., or maybe even some personal stuff like food allergies.

Check out my introductory post:

I’m new here.

Have any thoughts/advice?  Think it’s a good introduction?  What should I blog about there?  Should it focus on the area?

Attn Bands :: Where and how do you promote shows?


So, bands… where & how do you advertise shows these days?  There is of course your own website (if you even bother to have one), social media, and good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. Do you still print physical show fliers?  Where do put them?  Do you pass out handbills?  How many friends, family members, classmates, co-workers, and casual acquaintances do you annoy with news of your shows & how often?

Is it flyers or fliers?

Is it flyers or fliers?

What social media do you use?  FacebookReverb NationTwitterMySpaceGoogle+Google CalendarAnything else?  I know there’s a bunch out there like the ancient Pure Volume (is anyone still over there?).

Then there are sites like Bandcamp, SoundCloud, & even YouTube… they help promote the band, but do they help promote shows?

Busker Bin

A gig is a gig, right?

Which ones do you use & which ones do you find effective?  I know bands helped animated gifs with glittering text kill MySpace.  At what point of posting about your band / shows / music / merchandise does it become over-saturation?

Do you hit the local papers or their websites with classified ads or event listings?  Do you post on local radio websites?

Do you post on the venue’s (and/or promoter’s) website/Facebook/Twitter/etc.?

Do you have an email list?

If you hang flyers, where do you hang them?  If you pass them out, where do you pass them out?

Here are some local sites where I’ve listed (or tried to list) our stuff…  Not sure if it’s drawing anyone out.

Where do you post?

Help me make a checklist of sorts to make sure we’re getting the word out to as many people as possible as efficiently as possible.

 

♩♫ Where have all the Quiznos gone? ♬♪


Some people are no fun.  Quiznos pretty much refuses to write back to this:

Salutations Sandwich Sultans!

♩♫ Where have all the Quiznos gone? ♬♪  (I imagined that in my head as sung like that “Where Have all the Cowboys Gone” song from the 90’s. – Hopefully you did too!)

I live in & around Pittsburgh PA, and all the Quiznos locations seem to have dried up.  At one point we were over-saturated, then poof!  They were all gone.

What happened?  Was it too easy to open a Quiznos?  Are they deceptively hard to run for a profit?  Is it hard to find good workers?  Certainly you have a better product than Subway and there aren’t many Jimmy John’s, Jersey Mike’s, or Firehouse Subs in the area (yet).

I ask only because I keep receiving emails asking me to come eat at Quiznos… yet there aren’t any near where I live or work, thus eliminating weekday lunch or dinner visits.  This doesn’t discount weekends, but I also don’t find myself near any Quiznos locations when I’m out & about.

This brings me back to by original query; ♩♫ Where have all the Quiznos gone? ♬♪  (Did you hear it this time?)

Inquisitively,
-Waldo

Quiznos

♩♫ Where have all the Quiznos gone? ♬♪

Really, what happened?  That’s all I want to know.  They are actual legitimate (if slightly embarrassing) questions.

I’ve submitted this to their contact form, and haven’t received a reply.  I sent it to some email addresses I had for Quiznos employees, and it bounced back.

They didn’t really answer well via Twitter, as they couldn’t get my whole letter:

…and no reply to that last one.  So, I tweeted at a Quiznos that responded with a valid corporate email address…

https://twitter.com/#!/QuiznosRSM/status/164936161679257600

https://twitter.com/#!/QuiznosRSM/status/165117413602496512

…and I got an error message that bounced back saying the following:

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

helpdesk@myquiznos.com

Technical details of permanent failure:
Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 550 550 5.7.1 <helpdesk@myquiznos.com>: Relay access denied. (state 14).

Weird.  That message (according to a quick Google search) sort of tells me I’ve been marked as spam.  I tired sending from a different email address, but got the same thing.  I may have to print & mail this one.  I wonder if even that will garner a response?

And, I liked Quiznos…

You love me, you really love me!


Pittsburgh’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011

Pittsburgh’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011

So, this thing happened…

CBS Pittsburgh’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011

There was blogging, there was voting.  There was certainly some goofiness.  I still haven’t been contacted by anyone at CBS.  I know other bloggers have.  Just so they know, the contact form on my blog works quite well.  There was something about prizes, but the rules detailing how one could claim a prize are gone.  I really thought I had no chance of winning, as there are so many cool blogs out there.  I’m not sure what kind of bragging rights this gives me.  Do I get a T-shirt or stickers or something?  “Hey, I’m annoying and goofy on the internet!”

It’s good to know that I’m the people’s choice, and not the editor’s choice.  I blog for the people, not for the editors.  I bet I won begrudgingly.  Ha ha.  They were probably all like “Oh crap, not that one!”.  I have to say thank you to whoever nominated me, and thank you for all my friends & family (& readers – who most likely fall into one of the aforementioned groups) who voted!

Here are the results…

Dining and Entertainment

Local Affairs

Sports

Health, Fitness and Medical

Lifestyle and Family

Everything Else

I call shenanigans on Only In Pittsburgh & Beyond Willpower not winning at least one “choice” in their respective categories.  It’s also odd that some of the people’s choice & editor’s choice were the same thing…  Why not spread the love?  I will go all mushy on you now, & say that everyone wins here, because we all got some exposure & hopefully traffic to our blogs that we might not have had before.  I’ve even added a few of these to my WordPress reader/feed.  Go check out all the blogs and their descriptions, and see if there’s something that piques your interest!

Some of the ones I dig:

Hopefully we all say “yinz” without noticing and with pride.  Thanks CBS & Pittsburgh!  And, of course, thanks to these guys & gals for letting me know what’s up!

Thanks Peeps!

Thanks Peeps!

CBSPittsburgh.com’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011

CBSPittsburgh.com’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011

Pittsburgh’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011 …?


So, I’m checking out my WordPress stats (it’s like an addiction now), and I see this link:

blogger.cbslocal.com/most-valuable-blogger/score/27/1/

I clicked it, and it was asking for a login.  Huh?  I did a quick Google search and found this:  Pittsburgh’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011

It reads…

After much deliberation and careful consideration of many nominees, CBS Pittsburgh has narrowed the field of Finalists down for this year’s MVB. Voting for finalists is open now through September 9th. Let your voice be heard – vote now!

I’m in the list!  So, to whoever nominated me, thanks! You forgot to include “obviously insane” in the description:

The topics are enjoyable to read & are written in a way that is highly entertaining, while containing favorable opinions & insight.

VOTE FOR MY ASS!

Vote for me! Please?

I’m in the Dining/Entertainment category.  They have a badge up there, and they say to use it, so I will.  And, here’s where I’ll beg for your votes.  It looks like you can vote once a day in each category.  Apparently, you have from now to Sept. 9th to vote.  So, please… be obnoxious with your voting!  Vote daily for yours truly, and spread the word!

I have to warn you, if I win it’s just going to encourage more goofiness.  Fast food joints will most likely not be amused.

Also… in all seriousness, I was looking through the other nominees.  Use this as an opportunity to check out some other cool local blogs!  I see Only In Pgh is up, & I love that blog.  No one nominated Secret Agent L?  None of the blogs listed on UrbanSpoon Pittsburgh are up against me in the dining category?  There are a bunch of cool ones there!

Twitter has opened me up to the wonderful world of bloggers out there, both near & far.

Finalists Have Been Announced! Go Vote!

You dropped this...

Check out the contest, vote for your favorites, and tell me in the comments below which blogs I should be following & why.  (After you vote for me, of course.)

Thanks again to the nominator (whoever you are) and to any potential voters!

AllergyEats | Defining allergy-friendly restaurant survey results


So, a while ago I posted asking for you to help out Paul from Allergy Eats with defining “allergy-friendly” as it pertains to a restaurant.  I also took the time to post my own thoughts before I sent them on to be tabulated.

Well, now Paul has posted his summary & survey results to the still mysterious government body.  I enjoyed reading the results, so I thought I’d share:

AllergyEats | Blog Logo

AllergyEats Blog

The AllergyEats Blog | How do we define an allergy-friendly restaurant? A look at the survey results

It’s great to see the results, and I can’t wait to see where & how they’re put to use.  It’s also great that all of our comments were passed along with the report, so rest assured that your voice has been heard thanks to Paul.  Hopefully it lays groundwork for more gub’ment organizations to follow by example!  (Although, we need to push from a consumer level too.)

My take on the results… it looks like we’re all looking for everyone in the restaurant from kitchen to wait staff to managers to be trained in food allergies and cross-contamination and possibly even certified… which seems like a no-brainer.  Even if that’s all we get, it’s a great start.

Employee answering phone needs to be knowledgeable: 1

Apparently, I’m the only one who wants the person answering the phone to know what they’re talking about.  Ha ha.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to define shellfish on the phone, or ask if they have any only to get there after being told no… and they totally do.  Perhaps it’s shame on me for not asking to talk to a manager…  but the person answering the phone ought to be knowledgeable enough to hand-off such questions, so I stand by my statement.

Cross contamination: (42 responses)

Understands and avoids cross-contamination:  21

Separate and cleaned prep areas and cookware:  20

Should wash hands:  1

Who said they should wash their hands?  Seriously?  I hope they’re doing that anyway… and that they don’t really need those signs in the restroom as a reminder.

Treats ALL allergies the same, not just the Big 8: 1

Apparently I’m the lone theorist there.  Really?  Well, I’m in the Top 8 category, so I guess… yo hell with the rest of you!  Ha ha.

No nuts strewn about the restaurant: 1

This one agitates me.  If it’s part of the restaurant’s shtick/ambiance/personality… then just give it up.  I like being able to walk into Five Guys and grab a tray of peanuts.  I don’t expect (or want) to dine at Long John Silvers or Red Lobster any time soon.

Specific allergen menus available in-house (not just online): 13

Allergen symbol list on menus: 12

Online food allergy menu: 4

All excellent points.  I’ve blogged about the need for menu symbols before.  Let’s get this done, people!

Ability to print out all ingredients for customer / show labels to customer if necessary: 11

Great idea.  A representative from Bob Evans once emailed me a chart detailing where everything was cooked in the kitchen & what surfaces would be safe with my shellfish allergy while they has a seasonal Shrimp stir-fry dish.  How cool is that?

At any rate, read the Blog at AllergyEats, and leave some feedback whether you participated in the original survey or not… it’s still valuable.  I’d also appreciate any comments here.  I’m sure the peanut thing will get some people riled up.  Ha ha.

 

Defining Allergy-Friendly


AllergyEats.com

AllergyEats.com

So, quite a task has been put to the food allergy community by Allergy Eats:  Define what it means to for a restaurant to be “allergy-friendly”.

You may have seen it in a recent re-posting by me, or on your own.  I urge you to form your own response and send it to contact@allergyeats.com.  I figured that I’d use this blog to sort out my thoughts before I sent them on to Paul at Allergy Eats.  I don’t exactly how I’ve morphed in to a food allergy advocate of sorts, but I feel that it’s important to help out any way that I can, and encourage others to keep up work that moves us all in the right direction.  There are already some great comments on the blog, and I’m sure he’s got an inbox full of suggestions already… but it’s important to keep them coming so this can be looked at from multiple angles.

AllergyEats T-shirtI like bulleted lists for some reason, so that’s how I’ll try to organize my thoughts:

  • The restaurant has to have a policy that reaches to ALL levels. Too many times restaurants claim to have god allergy practices, but it doesn’t trickle down to the wait staff, the cooks, or anyone past management.  Having a policy is great, but it needs to be understood and respected through all levels.  I feel comfort in a place when the waitress has the manager or even the chef come out to discuss allergy & cross-contamination issues with me.  Training, some sort of certification, and re-training annually or semi-annually would be excellent.
  • Changing current thinking. This is a good one…  Today at Boston Market, I noticed a sign on top of the cash register that read something to the effect of “If you have food allergies, please talk to the manager before placing your order.”  It’s great they’re recognizing the fact that there are food allergies out there, but… the cash register is at the end of the counter, and only reached well after you place your order.  Also, I’d hope that someone with food allergies would already have a heightened awareness when going anywhere to eat.  (If not, please read this.) More thought needs to be put into place, not just “CYA” measures.
  • They have to exude reassurance. A poster is great.  An “allergy-friendly” menu is great.  A sign at the cash register or on your table or on the salad bar is great… but not enough.  In with the training on all levels, the sever (or whoever answers the phone) must bee confident with the answers that you want to hear.  No “I don’t think” or “not really” or “I’m not sure so you’d just better not order that” will do.  Have the right answers.  Know why.  Understand the severity.  Knowledge of the kitchen and where everything is cooked should be a must for servers and managers.  Nuts can’t just be “picked off”.  There’s no such thing as “oh a little won’t hurt” with butter.  The fryer doesn’t “get hot enough to kill anything you’re allergic to”.  It’s unsettling fr someone with food allergies to dine out.  Making them feel safe is a must for “friendliness”.
    • On a related note… especially the person answering your phone.  When dining out of town, I try to call ahead (or get my wife to call ahead for me).  My favorite response ever was an Amish place in Ohio where I asked if they had shellfish (“like shrimp or crab or oysters” I said)… the girl went on to say “No, we have oysters, but they’re in soup, and there’s shrimp… but it’s not in a shell.”  Needless to say, we didn’t go there.
  • All allergies are equal. It’s great to see “nut free” options, or “gluten-free” menus, but let’s treat all allergies with the same respect to cross contamination.  The top 8 are; Milk, Egg, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, Shellfish, Soy, & Wheat.  But, there are others too!  I know of people with severe allergies to peppers, and have heard of corn allergies.  These people need to feel safe too!  Current government regulations don’t regulate the labeling of any allergens other than the top 8, so that’s all that people seem to pay attention to.  Special attention needs to be given to all kinds of allergies, not just one allergen or group of singled-out allergens.
  • Know what you’re serving. Are their anchovies in the Italian dressing or Worcester sauce?  Is this fried in peanut oil?  The server shouldn’t necessarily need to know off hand, but this information should be able to be provided upon request. Having it in written form would be tremendous.  (We could go into other special dietary needs here too… not an allergy, but I have an aunt with Diverticulitus who needs to know if there are seeds or nuts that may be ground up and hidden in things like dressing or soups or bread.) Listing all this on a website would be excellent.
  • Separate locations & utensils for allergy-free meal preparation. Cross-contamination is huge.  I don’t worry about a mutant lobster crawling into my mouth by itself… but I do worry (immensely) that some scallop juice might be on the grill where my steak was cooked… or that someone who just made a shrimp cocktail didn’t wash their hands before making my salad.  I’d love to know that the place where I’m dining has a fish or shellfish only fryer, separate grill spaces for different kinds of meat (even a vegetarian/vegan section would be cool), even separate cutting boards, prep areas, knives, and other utensils.
    • Keep the nuts off the salad bar… near their own station.
    • Hey Subway, don’t put the “seafood” sub stuff right next to the other lunchmeat, and don’t cut those subs with the same knife you use for all the other subs!
  • Ability to accommodate the unusual. Say someone has an inhalation allergy to peanuts…  Can you seat them somewhere so that the people at the next table are able to order some peanut-encrusted dessert without throwing them into an anaphylactic fit?  Can you do this without rolling your eyes, sighing, and making it a big deal?
  • Special markers/identifiers. I saw a commenter note this in the comments on the Allergy Eats blog post, and it’s absolutely brilliant.  Something ought to be a literal red flag… in the system, on an order ticket, on the check, on even the plate itself.  Everyone knows that orange-rimmed coffee pots mean decaf.  Why not red for allergies?  Or get crazy & assign a color to each of the top 8 & one for “other” allergies?  Did I read that Legal Sea Foods does double-plating or something to that effect?  It’s genius.  I’d like to extend the symbols idea to the menu too… why not have some sort of system with easily recognized food allergy icons?

That’s my take for now, but there are already many other great suggestions in the comments section over at Allergy EatsPlease, take the time to send yours to contact@allergyeats.com before Feb. 2nd!