A decade ago everyone was on a low carb diet. If a low carber wanted to go out for a meal the choices were pretty much limited to steakhouses. Restaurants were slow to catch on but today most eateries have a few low carb dishes on the menu to satisfy the special dietary needs of their guests. Just imagine how much revenue was lost by being unaware of the dietary trends for such a long time.
Sadly, low carb eating is no longer as popular as it once was so the menus don’t have the impact that they would have ten years ago. There is a relatively new dietary trend and smart restaurateurs won’t wait a decade to cater to the desires of their guests. A NPD Group survey reports in Time magazine that currently 29% of Americans are eating gluten free.
Who Eats Gluten Free, Anyway?
Gluten is the protein in wheat, barley, and rye that makes the dough stretchy when you knead it. There are people that are sensitive to this protein and they can get very ill when they ingest the smallest amount. Celiac disease is most often the culprit in these extreme cases. It is very important that people with Celiac don’t get even the tiniest amount of gluten or it could mean days in bed recovering ( and possibly a lawsuit for you).
Other people believe that not eating gluten will make them feel better and lose weight. Celebrities announce that they are eating gluten free and the rest of the country jumps on the bandwagon. Most of these people will not get sick if they ingest a little gluten. Many of them won’t even get sick if they ingest a lot of it. For them staying away from gluten is a choice.
Gluten Is in Almost Everything
If you think that staying away from wheat, rye, and barley breads and baked goods will create a haven of safety you are wrong. Gluen is found in everything from fish sticks to deli meat. It is going to take some research to create a few dishes that are truly gluten free. Once you have your menu you will need to store the gluten free foods away from the regular foods to avoid any possibility of gluten contaminating the regular foods. You’ll need to educate your staff so that they know how important it is to keep things separate.
This list by Gluten Free Chef will give you a good idea of which foods contain gluten.
This particular way of cooking is not as easy as you might think. While there are special mixes to help you create bread and other baked goods it is still important that you can develop recipes that work based on the creativity of your chef. Classes help you learn what substitutions to make and what to stay away from. There are also several good blogs online that can help and inspire you.
There are also videos and other information about gluten free food that you can use to train your employees at no cost.
Mark Your Dishes
Make a note on your menu which foods are gluten free and which are not. You must be absolutely sure that your dish is completely gluten free if you are going to say that it is.
Invite gluten free bloggers to come and review your new menu, advertise on their blogs, find the gluten free community in your area and get to know them. They will be happy to spend their money on a delicious dinner that takes their health issues into consideration. Best of all, when the food is good they will tell their friends.
Bring in New Business
Since few restaurants offer a gluten free menu those that do are likely to be busier than those that don’t. By keeping up with diet trends like gluten- free, educating yourself and your staff about gluten free foods, and serving an innovative, quality products your restaurant will find itself successful in its own niche. The rule of thumb for any successful business is to find a need and fill it. This might be just what your are looking for.
photo credit: Andrew-Hyde via photopin cc