So, I read an infuriating post yesterday on The AllergyEats Blog. It was a post from someone who has an allergy quite unsuccessfully trying to find a meal that won’t kill them at Applebee’s. The poster is much more adventurous than I am. I do as much research as possible before setting foot into a place, even down to emailing or calling ahead to can see what I can eat that hasn’t touched any death-fish. I wouldn’t even go into an Applebee’s because they cook shrimp on the grill & in the fryer in there. A sample of the text…
I ordered a hamburger, but explained my dairy allergy and politely went through my usual requests – no butter on the bun, no cheese on the burger, make sure the burger is cooked with no dairy, etc. The waitress immediately told me that they “couldn’t do that.”
What? You can’t stop yourself from slathering butter on the roll? All of the burgers come pre-packaged with cheese on top?
I was actually shocked because the staff had always cheerfully prepared my dairy-free food in the past. Did they change their attitude along with their menu?
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then you may have seen this link. I felt it was worth posting again, as my W(aL)D instincts took over and I ended up tweeting a link to the blog to the people at Applebee’s…
Apparently I got their attention, and they’ve contacted Paul at the Allergy Eats blog. Hopefully they can offer up some sort of formal apology, but more importantly start the steps to put a process in place where they not only recognize people with food allergies (and their families) who might want to dine out and need a safe place to eat, but implement training and procedures to become that dining safe haven.
At any rate, the comments on their blog have blown up, and get more & more interesting with each posting. (Apparently the AllergyEats Facebook page is kickin’ with comments too.) Some of the stories share are appalling (& remind me of my original Subway-related rant and the recent “dog turd” one). Thankfully AEPaul doesn’t seem to mind me sticking my proverbial nose into this Applebee’s mess, but apparently I just can’t help myself. The internet makes it so easy to be crazy and so easy to contact people. But really, this kind of stuff can’t go unaddressed. Applebee’s has a responsibility to make it right.
I keep pounding on this, but for next year’s Food Allergy Awareness Week, we need to concentrate less on legislation and government and more on the people who are in a better position to actually do something about it. I really feel that better accommodations can be made to those with food allergies when it’s consumer driven, versus having to make those accommodations because of government regulations. Regulations provide no incentive to exceed the guidelines passed along. Beating the chain restaurant across the street is incentive. Word of mouth (or free viral social media advertising) from people with food allergies and their families would be a hell of a boon to any business, and would most certainly generate some positive press.
Please post, re-post, tweet, re-tweet, tumblr, or Vulcan-mind meld this blog or the original blog (or both) to everyone that you can. Let Applebee’s and other chain restaurants know that this is not cool.