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Kids and Allergies Qdoba a restaurant that gets it right

Submitted by on Wednesday, 20 August 2008 No Comment

I thought a co-worker was trying to inflict me with the mid-morning munchies last week when she handed me a brochure with a colorful plate of nachos on the front.

“I don’t know if this helps you any, but we ate there last night and I picked it up,” she said.

It helped me wish I’d packed something besides a turkey sandwich in my lunch today, I thought. But when I opened the flier, I realized she’d handed me something more valuable than a winning lottery ticket.

It was an ingredient list and top eight allergen information for the entire menu at Qdoba Mexican Grill, a chain that just opened a store where we live.

I gasped. Here, on a simple double-sided paper were all the details I grill every poor wait person on the planet about. A chart with check marks for the top eight on one side and complete ingredients detailed on the other.

Granted, Big Guy’s garlic allergy makes it hard to eat out much, but I’ve never seen anything like this. Anywhere.

I’ve seen it on plenty of Web sites — McDonald’s and Jack In The Box, for example. I’ve pestered customer service reps at chains such as Outback in emails exchanges that have gone on for days as I repeatedly came up with “one more question.” I’ve cross-examined managers on site. But I’ve never had it handed to me in a neat little package.

Which makes me wonder why more restaurants — chains in particular — don’t adopt this approach. In many, many instances, they already have the information. It’s just not readily available at the place customers are most likely to need it.

So I send personnel trotting back to the kitchen numerous times as each answer begets more questions. Most — but not all — places are happy to do it. But wouldn’t it be more efficient to simply print what you already know and offer it to customers so they can study it before taking up a lot of staff time?

I’m so grateful that I know where we’re eating this weekend. They even have a garlic-free pico de gallo — obviously, this is meant to be.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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