AllergyEats in the News — Motivations
Paul Antico of AllergyEats.com
By Boston Skirt, Tuesday, April 27, 2010
(click the title above to go to the original article on Boston Skirt’s site)
The Story Behind AllergyEats
Imagine a typical lazy weekend, one in which preparing an exceptional home-cooked meal is not on the top of your to-do list. You gather the kids, hit the road, en route to find a new restaurant to dine at. There’s only one issue- your children harbor a multitude of food allergies, and you drive around aimlessly not having the slightest clue as to what eateries cater to the essential health needs of your family.
Cohasset resident and father of five, Paul Antico, felt this pain when it came to finding establishments that were allergy-savvy. And that’s why he is now devoted to helping other families in their quest to find acceptable places to dine out, by founding his website AllergyEats.com.
The allergy-conscious database enlists over 600,000 restaurants with reviews from customers, detailing whether or not certain places are gluten-free or nut-free, among many other intolerances.
‘My wife had gone away, and trying to take my two boys out, who both had allergies, was difficult. Not having the knowledge frustrated me enough to do something about it and take action. With AllergyEats, I want people to understand that by posting reviews and helping others, that they’re helping themselves and letting restaurants be aware of what needs to be done,” says Antico.
He isn’t looking to denounce every allergy-UNfriendly eatery, but instead is hoping that restaurants realize what a huge and growing issue this is, and that by making their food safer for certain patrons, it’ll be likely that their profits will increase, as 5% of the population has some type of food complication. Businesses can advertise on the site and see what customers are saying about their place and other establishments. AllergyEats also includes dining tips, a personal blog from Antico about current allergy issues and information from renowned endorsers such as the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
So where are some of his favorite, allergy-sensitive places to frequent? Antico says that restaurants like “Not Your Average Joe’s”, “Bertucci’s” and his personal preference “Famous Dave’s”, all go above and beyond the call of service when it comes to dining.
“When you know what to ask, what to look for, and how to study a menu, eating out becomes easier. I’ve had a really bad experience where a server has no idea what they were doing, couldn’t answer the questions I asked, and had the tools necessary, but just didn’t know how to use them. Bottom line, not all waiters take allergies seriously, and as parents we have to be vigilant in asking as many questions as it takes to feel comfortable, because they’re there to service you,” Antico states about making every dining experience as safe as possible.
He goes on to say, that restauranteurs and customers alike can benefit from the knowledge and education available on AllergyEats. Even noting that a chain the size of an average “Applebee’s” could make a $50,000 profit by converting to an allergy-conscious menu as they’d be able to appeal to a larger crowd.
“It’s all about the restaurants saying, “Hey, what can we do for you?,” says Antico.
So when planning your next big night out with the kids, check out AllergyEats.com if you’re in need of some guidance as to where’s the best bet for your family.