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69% of your staff do not understand the severity of an allergy

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Contents

Encouraging changes have resulted from the 2014 Food Information for Consumers (FIC) legislation- of that there is no question.An FSA survey showed that 83% of interviewees noticed a change in efforts to make life easier for allergy sufferers, and nearly half of these said that their own experience had improved. Great news.

But the same study also suggests that there is still a substantial gap from where we are to where we should be.

Issues are still surfacing for allergy sufferers. Dining out is still proving difficult, and many concerns are still being raised regarding a lack of clear and accurate information about the dishes on a menuSome fairly stark statistics were noted that highlighted this lack of knowledge and communication, with a sobering range of problems being encountered. Some of the more prevalent problems recorded were as follows:

  • More than two-thirds (69%) have experienced staff not understanding the severity of an allergy, and how easily a mistake can cause a reaction.
  • This was followed closely by 68% of staff considered to show a lack of knowledge as to the ingredients and dishes on the menu, such as staff confusing eggs with dairy, or making assumptions that the customer was asking for gluten-free rather than avoiding lupin (a grain commonly used in place of wheat).
  • 41% found that staff were in a rush and not checking properly or informing the kitchen about any allergies
  • A huge 31% said that there was any allergen information available full stop.

What was even more alarming was that 56% of diners with an allergy said they have been made to feel like an inconvenience.Making a customer feel like an inconvenience is a big ‘No-No’ in any sector, but ostracising those with a medical disorder is completely nonsensical.Ensuring all of your team members are sufficiently trained to handle these situations is thus imperative. They need accurate and clear information to communicate to your customers, ideally available before they even have to ask for it.However, this isn’t just limited to allergies or other medical conditions that dictate specific diets. This also includes diets that have been specifically chosen.This week is National Vegetarian Week, and with an estimated 2% of the UK population now vegetarian (that’s about 1.2 million people) combined with a rapidly increasing take-home market of £284m in 2016, this is a huge demographic that you should be communicating with.Are you?Providing the relevant information about your dishes and their suitability for a range of diners, not only ensures their safety but also their satisfaction. And let’s be honest, that’s what all businesses want, right?If customers are happy with the service you are providing, then they are more likely to return- simple.

But what if you are not displaying allergen information, or have staff members who are insufficiently trained and unable to communicate crucial allergen information?

If that’s the case, then it may be worth noting that 23% of allergy sufferers said they would complain on social media if they visited an establishment without allergen information, or even report it to the appropriate authorities.Can you afford that amount of public dissatisfaction?What’s more, Mintel studies suggest that the ‘free-from’ sector of the industry jumped 30pc since 2015, to £531m, and estimate it will hit £673m by 2020.It certainly seems that this is a market with a lot of financial potential and not one to overlook.

At Kafoodle we can help.

Our clever, intuitive software can help you manage your food allergens with ease.

Our cloud-based kitchen management system connects chefs to the customer and everyone else in between. We ensure that all parties can successfully and compliantly access the nutritional and allergen information of your menu.You can find out more about what Kafoodle can do for you here or by contacting us directly at: info@kafoodle.com or on 020 3371 0450

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