A man walks into a restaurant. He says to his server, “I’m anaphylactically allergic to eggs in any form, cooked, raw, dried, any eggs, anywhere.”
His server takes this very seriously, informs chef and kitchen and they go to great lengths to create an eggless menu for patron.
While the patron and his party are waiting for food, the patron says to the bartender, who was out of earshot of the egg-convo with server, “Can you make me a key lime martini?”
The bartender, not knowing what that drink was, made one up; a “flip” version of a citrus drink. (Eggs in drinks are very hot right now; see Mad Men.)
The patron tasted and said, “How did you get it so foamy? Wait, is there an egg in there?”
“Yes,” the bartender said, “that’s the foam.”
The patron says, “I’m allergic to eggs!”
The bartender says, “Do you have your Epi-Pen? What Can I do to help, I’m so sorry and I had no idea. No one told me you had an egg allergy.”
The patron takes some unspecified medication (not a shot of adrenaline), stays through rest of meal and is apparently okay.
This story is told to you third hand, so please add a grain of salt when reading as with the two previous cautionary tales. However, even third hand there is a clear issue here: the patron assumed the bartender knew of his egg allergy, although the patron never directly told the bartender of his needs.
It cannot be underscored enough: the patron must always take responsibility for telling everyone around them of their dietary restrictions. And follow up. And then follow up again.
Mistakes happen in restaurants that are the restaurant’s fault, all the time, absolutely. But just as often it is the patron who has not done their job in communicating their needs clearly to the highest person in charge and then repeating.
Don’t let this happen to you. Speak up with confidence and graciousness, with a smile, to everyone. Never assume and recheck when you’ve received your meal or drink.