eating out

Show me the menu!

Why restaurants who don't show their gluten free options on online menus are missing out to those who do.

Point of view, you get invited out with friends.

BC scenario (as in Before Coeliac, not to be confused with Before Christ):

Friend: “Hey, we’re going out for my Birthday this weekend, are you free?”

Me: “Absolutely, sounds good! Where are we going?”

Friend: “We want to go to 123 Manchester, about to book it if you want to come?”

Me: “Great, count me in!”

We rock up, check out the menu for the first time, order whatever the hell I like and have a great evening, end of story! ⬇️ Here’s a stock image of us all having a great time.

Now, 5 years later and here’s the AD scenario (After Diagnosis … duh):

Friend: “Hey we’re going out for my Birthday this weekend are you free?”

Me: “Absolutely, sounds good! Where are we going?”

Friend: “We want to go to 123 Manchester, about to book it if you want to come?”

Me: *Quickly search the website to find the menu, no separate GF menu and no allergen symbols on the main menu (funny, plenty of VG symbols though…)*

Friend: “…”

Me: *Tries to find any allergen information or matrix on website - no sign of anything*

Me: *Frantic*

Me

Friend: “?”

Me: *Googles the restaurant name and gluten free but nothing relevant shows on google search results*

Me: *Panic mode*

Again, me

Friend: “Can I book?”

Me: *Goes on Tripadvisor, finds restaurant and searches for ‘gluten’ in the reviews - NOTHING*

Friend: “You there?”

Me: *Rings restaurant in the middle of a weekday… no answer*

Me: *Hyperventilating into a paper bag*

You guessed it, me again

Me: *Last hope, checks restaurant’s social media for any posts about gluten and checks comments for any questions others have asked. Nope. Messages the restaurant on Instagram.*

Friend: “Good with you?”

Need I say

Me: “Yeah should be fine, I can’t see any GF options but I’m sure when we get there they will have something I can eat”

Night of the meal:

Friends: *Eating yummy goodness*

Me: *Drunk off margaritas and eating the lime slice for sustenance because they didn’t have gluten free options*

Yours truly

Me: *Buys crisps from shop for the way home*

*All based on a semi true story (the restaurant in question did have broccoli as a gluten free option so my dinner was lime and broccoli so not half as bad…)

For the love of god help a gluten free gal out!

If only there was a website dedicated to reviewing restaurants for their gluten free friendliness helping you avoid the palaver of trapsing through the internet. This is where superhero Glee comes in, because in just seconds, you will have access to reviews for restaurants across the UK, reviews made by a real gluten free community. Glee will show you up-to-date reviews, menu information, what the restaurant knowledge is like and in general, how other members found their overall experience.

But whilst we’re busy bees finishing off designing our wonderful website, wouldn’t it be fabulously helpful if restaurants acknowledged these frustrations and made sure that if they do offer gluten free options, they have these clearly marked on an online menu, or even better, have a separate gluten free online menu.

According to Coeliac UK, over 10% of the UK population are gluten free compared to only 2-3% who are vegan. 10%! That’s huge! Don’t get me wrong, I am completely behind veganism and agree that we should all give it our best shot at eating less animal products. However, it does surprise me that lots of restaurants prioritise creating vegan dishes and adding VG symbols to menus but leave out GF symbols or don’t cater for gluten free when for many it’s not a preference, it’s a need.

Over 10% of the UK population are gluten free compared to only 2-3% who are vegan

Is this because with veganism, it isn’t an allergy, so cross-contamination isn’t an issue so it’s less risky to add to the menu?

Regardless of the reasons why, without showing gluten free options on online menus or having any information out there, restaurants, cafés and any other eateries are missing out on a huge opportunity to capitalise on a substantial percentage of the population. There’s around 8.5 million eating gluten free and many of those 8.5 million are looking out for gluten free friendly restaurants and I’m sorry to say but if you’re a restaurant who don’t offer any GF options, or you do but don’t shout about them on your website, menus or social media, then you’re going to lose out to restaurants who do.

Food for thought 🤷🏽‍♀️

Thank you broccoli 🥦❣️

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