Random Thoughts From A Server 48

Not Really Allergic

Allergies have become a hotter issue in restaurants than at any time I can recall.  While I have great sympathy for those that are allergic to food items, the abuse of the word by picky eaters has made it more and more difficult for those with legitimate allergies.  Restaurants will bend over backwards for people who need to restrict what they eat.  The unfortunately, picky eaters know this as well.  This means that if they truly want to make sure an item doesn’t have a particular ingredient, they will often just say they are allergic.  This is frustrating for restaurants and dangerous to those with bonafide allergies.

I once had a guest order a Bloody Mary.  They told me that they were allergic to celery and to skip the celery salt on the rim.  This was fine for the drink, but created a hurdle for their meal.  After I went over the brunch specials, I inquired of this guest if her celery allergy was part of a bigger allergy.  She doubled down and said, “no, just celery.”

I have done a fair amount of research on allergies and knew that there people who are allergic to celery.  The problem with this is that celery is part of the mirepoix, a combination of vegetables used in half the menu.  I grabbed a menu and the chef to go through all of the items on the menu that contain any stock or mirepoix.

After a few minutes, I returned to the table with my marked up menu to explain to the guest what items she needed to avoid on the menu.  They impatiently informed me that they were ready to order.  The guest in question ordered an item that had been marked off the menu by the chef as containing celery.  I informed her of this and she replied, “I just don’t like celery salt on my Bloody Marys.”

So now my other tables were forced to wait while I had this pow wow with the chef.  The chef had to step off the line to go through the entire menu and slow down the other tables orders.  Most importantly, guests with legitimate allergies will be called into question by the chef.  All so she could have a Bloody Mary without celery salt.

“Can I have my Bllody Mary without celery salt?”  It’s a magical phrase and works every time.

 

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One comment on “Random Thoughts From A Server 48

  1. Laura K on said:

    I get this all the time. As a gluten avoider, I take it on myself to have a general idea of my level of gluten tolerance, and never claim it as an allergy. As a waitress, I have taken it upon myself to know my menu well, so that I can help vegetarians, vegans and allergic or sensitive eaters make good decisions in my restaurant. Patrons who invent an allergy to avoid detection as a Picky Eater are just making the meal way more complicated. I am happy to place your order without your allergen and equally happy to do so to avoid some ingredient you just don’t like. It makes no difference to me. I just want to get your order right. Work with me, people.

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