Valentine’s is right around the corner and while loved ones are fervently planning the perfect evening, you are assembling the team that will make it happen. But are food allergies and dietary restrictions being planned into your event? Here are just a few reminders to help make the evening a sweet success.
Let’s face it, anaphylaxis isn’t sexy. Keeping an epinephrine auto-injector may or may not be an option in your state. It’s a life saving tool, so if it is available add it to your emergency kit along with at least one staff member trained in how to identify anaphylaxis and use an epinephrine auto-injector. Whether or not epinephrine is an option, keeping a space clear for allergen-free cooking is mandatory. Maintain a work-station that is free of the top eight allergens (e.g., milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybean). Also, consider adding sesame to this list in anticipation of the changes proposed in recent legislation.
For couples on this special night, nothing is less romantic than explaining an allergy or a dietary restriction to the waitstaff. That’s valuable time your guests could be staring lovingly into each other’s eyes. The meal should be memorable, not the act of ordering the meal. Be sure to train staff to communicate effectively with the guest as well as the kitchen to ensure every meal meets every guest’s needs. Meal Tickets can facilitate great communication from the table to the kitchen and back again.
Of course you plan ahead. You’re a professional. But are you planning for Valentine’s contingencies such as dietary restrictions and allergies? Taking the time to give your food and beverage a final once over will ensure safety and may even save a life. Something as simple as remembering to keep coconut oil on hand at the allergen-free cooking station, rather than the peanut oil you tend to use for everything else, can make the difference between a great evening and a tragic one.
If you plan for dietary restrictions and allergies, it will be easy to add labels to the menu. Don’t forget buffets, dessert carts, and other food displays. An estimated one in every 13 people have a food allergy of some kind. Labeling will save time for your staff as well as guests. Plus, who knows – it could save a life.
Keep Valentine’s Day memorable for the right reasons. Following these simple reminders can ensure romance for your guests with attention on great service and great food.