Why Your Restaurant Training Needs to Cover Food Allergies

FOOD ALLERGIESDo you have a training program in place for your food service or restaurant employees? If so, are you teaching them about food allergies?

If not, you are exposing your customers to risk – and your restaurant to possible legal action if customers have allergic reactions. The lesson? Make sure your food service training teaches your employees about food allergies.

Allergies: A Widespread Health Hazard

Just about everyone today understands that some individuals can have allergic reactions – sometimes life-threatening – to foods that contain shellfish, peanuts, or other nuts. That explains why many restaurants either avoid preparing dishes that contain nuts or shellfish, or post warnings on their menus stating that certain items contain nuts.

But are those steps enough to protect your patrons from allergic reactions? No, they are not. For one thing, a number of pre-packaged sauces and oils that are used in preparing foods contain nut oils; unless your cooks are trained to check for those ingredients, those oils can find their way into your cooked foods and harm your patrons, even if you think your foods are free of nut allergens.

Another troubling reality is that allergic reactions can occur when the foods you prepare contain combinations of ingredients that interact and trigger a patron’s allergic response for the first time. For example, a patron who did not realize he or she was allergic to shellfish consumes lobster that is made with a particular spice, or consumed with red wine, and suddenly suffers a severe allergic reaction.

Critical Topics to Cover in Training

Those frightening scenarios help explain why it is critically important to train all your restaurant workers in four distinct areas:

  1. They need to be aware of, and understand of the most common food allergies, especially allergies to nuts and shellfish.
  2. They need to how to prepare foods that will be safe for patrons with food allergies. This can be complex. Remember, your cooks do not need to cook with peanuts to prepare foods that can trigger an allergic reaction to nuts.
  3. They should understand that food allergens can be carried not just by foods, but by cutlery and plates that have not been correctly washed.
  4. They need to recognize the symptoms of allergic reactions and know what to do. Allergic reactions do not always include sneezing or difficulty in breathing; some are subtle and easy to miss. If a patron becomes agitated, panicked, sweaty, or flushed, your restaurant staffers need to react instantly and call for medical assistance. They should be trained to know exactly what to do.

Economical, Effective Food Service Training that Protects Your Customers . . . and You

Tortal Training’s Out of the Box Solution for hospitality and food service training teaches your employees what they need to know about customer safety. To learn more, call us at (704) 323-8953 or request a demo.