10 Days of Gluten Free

Eating Out Gluten Free: Be Nice to Your Server

35 Comments 08 May 2012

Eating Out Gluten Free:  Be Nice to Your Server

Yesterday I shared my first tip about Eating Out as a part of 10 Days of Gluten-Free, created by Linda, the Gluten-Free Homemaker.  Doing your homework is key to finding a restaurant and meal that will be healthy and safe for you.

Eating Out Tip #2 is…Be Nice to Your Server.

As a child, I’m sure you played telephone.  If so, you know that the original message can be hilariously misconstrued, and oftentimes the message received is completely contrary to that of the original.

In the dining situation of the gluten intolerant, a misconstrued message is far from hilarious.  Your server is the liason between you and the kitchen.  During dinner, the relationship between you and your server is far more important than the one between you and the one you’re starry-eyed for across the table.  Your server holds the fate of your evening and your health in his hands.

Be nice to your server.

Get your servers on your side.  Get to know them.  Make it a pleasure for them to come to your table and check on you.  You will be surprised at how servers will go the extra mile when they enjoy talking with you.

Years ago, I had just flown in from a weekend away and met the Husband for dinner.   We drove to one of his favorite business lunch spots for dinner, because he said that there was always grilled fish and steamed veggies that were naturally gluten free.  Perfect.

We enjoyed talking about local news with the waiter before even approaching the issue of needing a gluten-free meal.  When he offered an appetizer, I was quick to say that I was starving, but that I wasn’t sure that I could find anything gluten-free.  I was eyeing the chips and salsa.

The waiter proceeded to explain that although the salsa was gluten free, they fried the chips in the same oil as their breaded chicken. His solution was to bring me corn tortillas cut into wedges that I could dip into the salsa.  He could have just said, “No, they aren’t gluten free.”  But he went the extra mile.

Be nice to your server.

Did you enter to win a $25 P.F. Chang’s gift card yesterday?  Two of you will be winners at the end of 10 Days of Gluten Free.  All you have to do is comment here!  You can submit another entry today by leaving a comment below.  You can leave two entries today by answering a second dish question or letting me know that you followed Gluten-Free Cat on Twitter, “liked” Gluten-Free Cat’s Facebook page, or shared this post on Twitter or Facebook.

I’ll be back tomorrow with tip #3.  Did you check out the other blogs in the blog hop yesterday? The tips were fantastic!  Make sure you visit them today:

Readers, dish!

  • How have servers gone above and beyond for you?
  • What are your secrets to getting servers on your side?
  • Share how a server made your dining experience one to remember.

Giveaway Guidelines:

  • This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents 18 and older.
  • You are allowed two entries per “10 Days of Gluten Free” blog post for a total of 20 entries on this blog.
  • Enter by leaving a comment on this post (and other 10 Days of GF posts)
  • The giveaway begins May 7, 2012 and ends at 11:59 pm central time on May 18, 2012.

No purchase is necessary.  Odds of winning are based on the number of entries.  The winner will be randomly chosen and will be contacted by email.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond.  If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly chosen.

Contest closed, but I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Your Comments

35 Comments so far

  1. Becky says:

    I always chat up my server. I meet the nicest people that way :)

  2. Becky says:

    Follow you on FB

  3. Rebekah Shaver says:

    The best servers have gone above and beyond in telling their manager and then their WHOLE Kitchen staff that we were Gluten-Free.

  4. Cindy says:

    I liked you on facebook!

  5. Cindy says:

    I agree. Chatting up the waitress and being nice can have it’s benefits when you need help with following a gluten free diet.

  6. Rebekah Shaver says:

    We had our server at Olive Garden discreetly behind the children’s back ask me if she could give me the after dinner Ande’s mints for us because she said, “I don’t know if these are Gluten-Free”. I told her thank you SOOOO much for not letting the children see, since I wasn’t sure if they were GF either.

  7. Penny says:

    Chatting it up w/ server is a good strategy.

  8. Penny says:

    I follow you on facebook.

  9. Jessica B says:

    Thanks for the reminder on how to treat servers when eating out.

  10. This is so incredibly important!! While it’s easier when the wait staff is also pleasant in return… it make the whole experience more enjoyable and encourages wait staff to better help future gf customers when you are a helpful, thoughtful customer! (no entry, just comment!@)

  11. I totally agree with you on this one. I have a few servers that now know me as one of their regulars and I love them!

  12. Kathi says:

    Yep–being nice to the server usually pays off!

  13. Dianne A says:

    Thanks for the tips! And please enter me in the drawing!

  14. Janet says:

    Sound advice whether you are gluten free or not. Having been a waitress (and a housekeeper and a store clerk), those jobs can be thankless and exhausting. Whenever someone treats you well, you’re more apt to go the extra mile for them. Plus, it goes with the values I was raised to believe in.

  15. Betsy says:

    I follow you on FB and Twitter. We have found that if we chat with them for a few minutes before ordering we can usually get a feel for them. Since there are so few gluten-free options in out town, most of the waiters know us at our two favorite haunts.

    One time at the end of an exhausting drive we ended up in a PFChangs for a much needed meal. The kids were starved and grouchy. The waiter went out of his way to help us put together a gf meal for a grouchy / exhausted child. My husband went to the manager before we left and thanked him for hiring such competent, friendly, and patient staff.

  16. Jeannie Parker says:

    I have to agree with this statement even if your not worried about eating gluten free. I had such a wonderful experience the first month I was gluten free. I had gone to Chili’s and asked for a gluten free menu, then manager was wonderful as well as our waiter. Originally they put bread on the steak I ordered and I had to send it back, but both the manager and waiter were wonderful and kindly got me a whole mew steak. Since my meal was brought out so much longer after everyone else at our table they ended up giving me the entire meal for free. I was so shocked and didn’t expect that at all. Yes the kitchen made a mistake but it’s something unusual that they aren’t use to doing and as long as they didn’t mind cooking a whole new plate for me, why should I complain. It was worth the wait, I got a great meal that didn’t make me sick and it happened to be free.

  17. Jillian says:

    oh so true! last weekend this was proven.

  18. julie says:

    great post, I love pfchangs!!

  19. julie says:

    I shared on facebook!

  20. Amanda B says:

    Love PF Chang’s. Please enter me in the drawing!

  21. Cindy W. says:

    I have found for the most part staff in restaurants want you to have a good, safe eating experience.

  22. pat J says:

    Great reminder on the waiters and oh, so true. Thanks for the drawing opportunity.

  23. Lynn says:

    Can’t agree with you more…when we go out we try to laugh joke and get to know r servers. They really do take better care of you if you are nice to them, making for. A great dining experience.

  24. I was a server for years and I can attest to the truth in that. If you act picky or annoyed, they won’t be very keen to help you out of your dilemma.

  25. Natalie J Vandenberghe says:

    My parents were in food service and I have little tolerance for bad service. That being said, I love food and I love people–so it’s easy for me to be nice to my server.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  26. Deborah says:

    A tip for when your server or meal is NOT up to par: don’t seethe silently. Ask for a manager and explain the problem. I spent 25 yrs married to a restaurant manager as he worked for several chains and believe me, they’d rather be given the chance to fix things.

  27. Nadine says:

    I have found that being polite and explaining to my server that I cant eat wheat/gluten, that they are more then willing to help me. They are happy to talk to the chef about how the dish is prepared. Our local deli has a GF menu and they explain how my sandwich will be made & they have packs of mayo so no contamination.

  28. Emma says:

    Being nice to your server is a great tip. It’s easy to forget when you’re frustrated with your own food allergies or intolerance, but being patient always pays off in the long run.

  29. Chris says:

    Thanks for the head up. I never thought to bring my own bread. I just have always eaten it on lettuce and that gets boring.

  30. Emma says:

    Share how a server made your dining experience one to remember.

    Cheeseburger and Paradise always has a manager bring out my dish and let me know how the food was prepared. It always makes me feel comfortable, plus they have AWESOME GF buns!

  31. Natalie says:

    My niece was once a waitress at a local restaurant; I really came to understand how important it is for patrons to be nice when she came home crying several times when she was treated poorly for mistakes that obviously weren’t hers. Great advice!!

  32. Natalie says:

    I commented on your tip on Twitter.

  33. Gina says:

    Every time my family dines out we feel like “high maintenance orderers” of the first order!! My daughter has anphylactic nut/shellfish allergies, I am gluten/dairy free and my husband has a tree nut/fruit allergy. Even before I had to be gluten/dairy free we were very accustomed to chatting up the waitstaff and and making our requirements as “painless” as possible for them. We are also generous tippers and think that for our regular haunts that also helps ensure future successful dining!

  34. Angel R. says:

    More great information. Thanks for sharing!

  35. Angel R. says:

    Even though our son prefers to eat food we bring from home, I usually ask if they have a gluten-free menu, just to see what options he will have in the future. It’s scary sometimes, the things people will list as gluten-free. You have to know and not trust others to understand!


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A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, friend, fitness fanatic, foodie, high raw vegan, child of the King, and Mama Cat. I've made the transition from baking and cooking gluten-free to creating raw vegan recipes that are naturally gluten free. My gluten intolerance opened up my diet to a whole new world of nutritious plant-based foods. And now I have another challenge ahead...I'm moving to New York City! I look forward to Living Raw Vegan in the City and sharing my experience with you.

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