Today, it’s no longer news that there are a lot of people suffering from food-related allergies in the UK — the condition is prevalent in both kids and adults. Now, it’s become even more critical for all restaurant staff to be properly trained on how to attend to the needs of food-allergic guests. It’s important to note that up to 8% of children and 2% of adults suffer from food allergies in the UK. You should know that reactions can range from mild discomfort to life-threatening food-induced anaphylaxis. That being said, just one mistake in the kitchen could lead to customer’s illness and in a worse case scenario, death! As we know, these terrible events can ruin your business’s reputation or even lead to closure.

The good news is, many food businesses are now looking into providing food allergy training for employees, and that’s great. But is your food establishment doing the same? As the CEO of your restaurant, it’s your responsibility to prioritize comprehensive training for all member of staff including chefs, managers, servers and more.

Now, it’s not just about getting your employees to watch a basic food safety video; you have to sign them up for proper and comprehensive training that explores just about everything they need to know about food allergies. Everything ranging from how to prepare allergy-friendly to how to prevent cross-contact and more.

For the most part, proper food allergy training goes way beyond basic level awareness — food allergic customers need special attention and basic doesn’t cut it. Comprehensive food allergy training provides your restaurant with customized information that emphasizes specific food allergy procedures and protocols including methods to control and prevent cross-contact, how servers and chef should communicate food allergy orders, allergy-friendly ingredients and equipment to use for food-allergic customers, emergency procedures and more. It’s important to note that this training is not a onetime thing — it demands commitment and ongoing education.

It’s also good to point out that most food-allergic diners know the difference between a well-trained restaurant staff and poorly trained one. Establishments, where employees lack appropriate food allergy training, won’t be able to confidently serve food-allergic diners and that’s bad for business. So, if you’re looking to attract and accommodate a loyal customer base, your restaurant must emphasize and prioritize the need for a more comprehensive food allergy program.

So regardless of whether your food business implements its own complete in-house training or one designed by a professional training company, it’s a huge step toward making the environment safer and more comfortable for food-allergic diners. The best part? Those customers will see your business as an authority and spread the word to their friends and families as well as the food allergy community! The bottom line? When you emphasize the importance of allergy training, your allergy-friendly restaurant will get to enjoy increased safety, customer loyalty, and greater profits.

Always remember that there needs to be an environment for continuous education for all employees — it’s not a onetime thing. Be sure that your food establishment plays its part in making the world a safer place for food allergic diners.