I have stated before eating out is really a challenge for us. I wanted to share a recent experience with you that was just up our alley.
We happened to go to Red Robin (yum) for lunch the other day. This Red Robin is in Gilbert, AZ (on Stapley and US 60) 1 hour from our house and the likelihood that we will go there again is very small.
We were taken to our table, (all 6 of us) and the waitress came over to take our drink orders. Everyone was in the bathroom washing their hands so I ordered for us all. She thought that was very funny that I would know what they wanted to drink. I honestly thought it was weird that a mom wouldn't know what her family wants to drink...anyway.
She asked if I new what everyone wanted to eat. I said I did and had a few questions before I got there. I told her we had severe food allergies and was wondering how to order a hamburger that my daughter could eat that was not going to cost me $15 after we took everything off. I also asked what was in the guacamole.
She was very kind and actually worried that we would get something that we couldn't have. (That was a first) She said she would go find out and bring back what information she had to help us make a decision on what we were to order.
In about 5 minutes, everyone was back at the table circling on the kid menus what they were going to eat and the manager came to the table. She had heard we have some menu questions and how could she help us. !!!!what?!!! The manager actually came to the table to help a guest with a question. I was taken back but started firing away with my questions.
The first was "What is in your guacamole? Do you make it fresh, does it have seasonings?" They do make their guacamole fresh every morning. It is all fresh ingredients and it was not gluten free. In our case it also had tomatoes in it so we were not able to order it.
The next question was "How do I order a hamburger if I am going to take all the stuff off? I just need a hamburger patty, bacon, and avocados slices on lettuce. So you have an suggestions?" She had plenty of suggestions. Did you know that Red Robin has menus for all types of allergies? They have a gluten free menu, a egg free menu, a dairy free menu. She was willing to bring me any of those menus! Since we fell in all of those categories she suggested that we order a hamburger patty on the side with no seasoning (their seasoning is not gluten free) for $2.50, a topping of bacon and sliced avocado $.99 each and that it would come on lettuce!
She also explained that there fries are cooked in soy bean oil (not our favorite but doable) and that they are not gluten free unless we get no salt. She also explained that they take great precautions to not let food touch if it shouldn't. She suggested we ordered gluten free fries which are cooked in a seperated frier from the other fries and that they would come in a yellow basket so we would know the difference. She then asked if she should get going some gluten free fries for the table. I said of course, yes please and thank you!
The waitress came back and took our order. She was more than helpful in making sure Riley's stuff didn't get mixed in with the other items ordered and ordered gluten free fries for the whole table just so Riley got exactly what she needed. And if anyone wanted the seasoning it was on the table and could be added. The manager, cook staff, and waitress all put on protective gloves to handle all of our food for fear of contamination. It was total overkill for needs but I really appreciated their attention to detail and to the safety of their guests.
We have been to Red Robin before and never knew these options existed. I am not sure these differences are offered everywhere but IT DOESN'T HURT TO ASK. The difference a manager can make in helping others with some difficulties is amazing.
Next time you go to a restaurant don't hesitate to ask what they do for your allergy and how they can help you. You will probably not get the fantastic service we got at the restaurant but if you keep fighting to find out what they can do then you will have more options to eat at than just your kitchen. (and that is nice sometimes)
Next time I find myself an hour from home I will have to look up this restaurant.