NutriPro Food Allergens - How to make sure your staff knows how to answer guests’ questions about food allergies and communicate their needs in the kitchen?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Front of House

Allergy Etiquette

In many places, food businesses are required to provide information about the use of allergenic ingredients. Consider keeping a list of the ingredients used in each recipe and sharing it with customers when they ask about possible allergens.

Keep Your Cool

Since allergies can begin or worsen at any time, it’s possible that one of your guests will experience a reaction while dining with you. How can you prepare for an event like this?

  1. Know the numbers of local emergency responders and keep them posted in the kitchen at all times.
  2. If a customer is exhibiting allergy symptoms, ask if they have food allergies.
  3. If the person is having trouble breathing, stay calm and call your emergency responders right away. Anaphylaxis can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to the allergen, can worsen quickly, and can be fatal.
  4. Record what and how much the person ate and share the information with emergency responders. Preserve the suspected food.

Start the Conversation

Make sure your wait staff knows how to answer guests’ questions about food allergies and communicate their needs to the kitchen. Establishing a set of guidelines can help everyone on your team communicate when a guest has allergies.


  • Before seating guests, ask if anyone has a food allergy.  If so, avoid seating them near the kitchen door where airborne allergens may affect them.
  • Ask if anyone at the table has food allergies. If the answer is yes, write down all allergens!
  • Ensure that the allergen is communicated to the kitchen in writing or entered into the ordering system.
  • Inform the manager on duty about the allergen request, including the guest's table and order.


  • Inform server if menu item can be prepared without the allergen, and indicate any adaptations required to the dish.
  • Communicate clearly with your team. Acknowledge the request, and repeat it back to the server. Ensure all kitchen stations concerned verbally acknowledge the allergen request, as well.
  • When the dish is ready, isolate it from others going to the table, verbally communicating the sensitive dish directly to the server or manager who will deliver it to the guest.


  • Bring the dish to the table, mentioning the allergen again to make sure there are no mix-ups.