The purpose of this paper is to compare restaurant managerial staff and employees’ attitudes toward food allergies, their food allergy knowledge and food allergy-related training.
An online questionnaire was administered through a market research company (Qualtrics® Inc.). A total of 110 managerial staff and 229 restaurant employees completed this questionnaire.
Most restaurants were willing to modify recipes for customers with food allergies. Respondents felt that the customers should be responsible for expressing their food allergy needs. Both groups were able to identify certain symptoms of allergic reactions to food but lacked knowledge of allergen-handling practices. The managerial staff and employees had knowledge differences about how to respond to an allergic reaction (p<0.001) and how to identify peanut derivatives on food labels (p<0.000). In total, 70 percent of the managerial staff indicated that they provided employee food allergy training but only 40 percent of employees indicated receiving such training. The managerial staff identified a lack of employee commitment and interest as barriers to training provision. However, the employees identified different reasons (i.e. it is unnecessary and not beneficial).
Restaurants should have policies in place to accommodative customers with food allergies and make sure food allergy-related information is communicated to their customers via different outlets (i.e. restaurants’ websites and printed menus). Food allergy training should be designed based on the areas that need improvement, as knowledge may differ based on the position in the restaurants (managerial staff vs employees) and types of the restaurants (quick service vs casual dining). Pragmatic strategies need to be identified to better encourage and motivate restaurant employees to attend a food allergy training.
Understanding the similarities and differences in attitudes, knowledge and training on food allergies between restaurant managerial staff and employees would help restaurants to plan and implement policies and training that best fit both managerial staff and employees.
Lee, Y. and Sozen, E. (2018), "Who knows more about food allergies – restaurant managerial staff or employees?", British Food Journal, Vol. 120 No. 4, pp. 876-890. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-07-2017-0387Download as .RIS
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