Gluten – a mixture of two proteins present in cereal grains, especially wheat, which is responsible for the elastic texture of dough.
After working within the food service industry for so long, you become an expert in the most random and miscellaneous areas of the human existence. Allergies are something which you must treat seriously when serving the general public, for obvious reasons you don’t want a customer dropping dead in your restaurant. Now, you would think (or assume rather) that if a customer were to be living with a serious allergy to a common ingredient, that they would perhaps mention this before ordering their meal.. You would be wrong. Apparently, a minimum wage employee (possibly no older than 18 years old), should possess the incomprehensible skill of simply ‘knowing’ that this customer is allergic to gluten.. or this customer cannot handle spice.
Yesterday, a woman entered our premises and made her way to the garden with a couple of work colleagues. She was Polish, her friends were all English, and she herself could speak English fluently. When ordering, the lady asked for what we call the “BBQ Chicken Melt” sandwich, and for it to be served on Ciabatta. Whilst expressing her food choice, she turned to her friends and asked what “genius bread” is. For those of you who don’t know, genius bread is a gluten-free alternative to standard bread. Her friends replied in a vague manner, describing it as “lighter” and “healthier”. She changed to this lighter, healthier sandwich and her friend chose the ciabatta.
Upon returning to check whether the meal was to their satisfaction, I was met with what can only be described as a bitchy, pissed-off looking woman who began ranting at me that her meal was smaller than her friends. This continued and developed into me apparently discriminating her because she had an allergy. I explained that the genius bread is, and has always been, smaller than ciabatta, and if she would like I could return from the kitchen with additional filling or more chips to bulk her meal to match her friends. This really was a “her meal is better than mine”.. “She has 2 more chips than I have”.. Truly irritating, immature behaviour to have to stand and remain polite and professional against. Inside my head I was slapping this woman in the face with a wet t-towel, attempting to knock some manners back into her arrogance and rudeness. **Enough ranting**
When she continued accusing me of discriminating her due to being a Coeliac, I then went on to explain that she couldn’t continue eating her meal, because the BBQ sauce contained gluten. A shocked look swept her face to one side, and a small smirk rolled its way in..
Are you trying to kill me? Why did you let me order this if it has gluten? What’s wrong with you?
To this, a simple reply was needed…