A Major Restaurant Group Needs Your Feedback on a Potential New Food Allergy Tool

A few months ago, I was contacted by Darden Restaurants – which owns large chains like Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and LongHorn Steakhouse amongst others – to offer my advice on a new tool they were considering rolling out to help our food allergy community. After some productive discussions, in which I was very impressed with their desire to better accommodate us, they asked if I would invite AllergyEats followers to participate in a survey to help them decide how to proceed with this tool. I agreed that your feedback would be invaluable to them. So please take a look at the following invitation from Cheryl Dolven, the Darden Director of Health and Wellness, and consider participating in their survey – the link of which is attached in this post. I urge you to do so as this is not only an excellent chance to influence a large family of restaurant chains, but could potentially start a domino effect as well. Your participation will also once again help demonstrate the power of the AllergyEats community, giving us further credibility to influence restaurant trends nationwide relative to food allergies.  Now here is the request from Darden:



The Darden family of restaurants features some of the most recognizable and successful brands in full-service dining, including Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse. Our brands are built on decades of listening to our guests, which has allowed us to respond to the changing needs of those we serve, including people impacted by food allergies – people like you.

Because we know access to information about what we serve is at the heart of meeting your needs, we are considering launching a “food allergy wizard.” Our goal is to provide an easy-to-use, online tool that allows you to identify what you can eat when dining with us.

That’s where you come in.

We want to know what you think of our “food allergy wizard.” Does it meet your needs? How can we improve it? We invite you to visit our example Food Allergy Wizard and then take our survey. The survey should take 20 minutes or less.

• To get to the Wizard, go to http://www.nutritionix.com/red-lobster-beta/portal and click on Food Allergy Wizard. You are welcome to play with the other nutrition tools, too!

• Then, click on this link to provide your feedback: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/20140069

Please know that while the Allergy Wizard is not live on Red Lobster’s website, the information is current. We also have a printable food allergy guide available: http://www.redlobster.com/health/allergy/default.asp

Meeting the needs of our guests with food allergies is a tall task – but one that is important to us. Informed servers, safe food handling procedures and accurate information are all critical pieces to serving a safe, delicious meal. We will continue to learn and invest in each of these areas in our journey to find new ways to nourish and delight our guests with food allergies. Your feedback on the information we provide will help us take another step in the right direction.

Thank you,

Cheryl L. Dolven, MS, RD

Director of Health and Wellness



Once again, I strongly encourage all to participate in this survey and help Darden learn more about whether or not this new tool will be valuable to our community and what changes they should consider.

And, of course, I would be remiss in not reminding those of you who have dined out recently to please go to the core AllergyEats website (www.allergyeats.com) or free smartphone app and rate any restaurants you’ve dined at recently.  Each new rating you add makes AllergyEats a more valuable tool for our entire food allergy and intolerance community.








    Jeff Zingsheim

    Thank you for providing this opportunity to influence restaurant behaviors. While this is the best allergen guide/tool I’ve ever seen, this restaurant chain continues to use what looks like a “legal disclaimer” that would ensure that I never take my peanut/tree-nut allergic daughter to eat at any of their restaurants:
    “Because of our reliance on suppliers for accurate information, the shared cooking and preparation areas in our kitchens and the handcrafted nature of our menu items, we cannot eliminate the risk of cross-contamination or guarantee that any item is free of any allergen.”

    Further, when using the peanut and tree-nut filters on this new tool, over two-thirds of the hundreds of food items that were listed as not containing these allergens were listed as having an unsafe risk of cross-contamination. That’s just not acceptable – especially since there were only 11 items on the menu that actually contain peanuts or tree-nuts.

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