How Burtons Grill Became AllergyEats’ Top-Rated Restaurant Chain
[This AllergyEats Blog entry written by AllergyEats team member Adrienne Walkowiak]
According to user ratings on AllergyEats, Burtons Grill is the most allergy-friendly restaurant chain in America.
In fact, their Hingham, MA unit is the single most recommended individual restaurant across the entire United States, based on this same AllergyEats user feedback.
Kevin Harron is the Founder, President and CEO of Burtons Grill, a chain of 10 full-service restaurants located in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Virginia. Harron, who has more than 30 years of restaurant industry experience, works hard to ensure that his entire staff – across all of his restaurants – is educated about, trained in and prepared to expertly handle food allergies.
When Harron and his business partners developed Burtons Grill, an upscale-casual restaurant concept featuring contemporary American cuisine, they wanted to raise the bar when it comes to food allergies. Harron, who has celiac disease himself, knows firsthand the importance of maintaining a special diet, and says it’s incredibly important to accommodate all special dietary requirements.
“We are in the hospitality business. We should do whatever we can to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all guests,” Harron explained.
Burtons Grill has become known as an allergy-friendly chain, capable of accommodating diners with an extremely wide range of allergies. They’ve also earned an amazing reputation within the gluten-free community, offering a broad assortment of delicious gluten-free dishes. According to Harron, food-allergic and gluten-free guests really appreciate having many safe menu items to choose from, all prepared in separated environments (including dedicated fryers) that eliminate the possibility of cross-contamination.
Guests are able to have safe, enjoyable dining experiences at Burtons Grill because Harron and his team take food allergy protocols so seriously.
At Burtons Grill, food allergy training starts at orientation, and all employees have to sign a waiver that they’ll follow the restaurant’s strict food allergy protocols. The Burtons team talks every day about accommodating guests’ food allergies. As part of these discussions, the team reviews their specific procedures to avoid cross-contamination, visually demonstrates allergy-friendly meals and ensures strong communication between guests and staff.
When a diner informs a staff member at any Burtons Grill restaurant about their food allergies, that staff member alerts a manager, who then speaks to the diner directly about their specific dietary needs. Based on this discussion, the manager recommends meal options. Once the diner selects their meal, the staff prepares it in a safe, clean area, avoiding cross-contamination. The meal is plated on a special square dish – a visual reminder that this is the allergy-friendly meal. Then, the manager carries this dish to the table separately, confirming with the guest that this is, indeed, their specially prepared meal. As a result, the guest leaves safe and satisfied.
Because of Burtons Grill’s commitment to allergy-friendly practices, Harron was asked to speak at the 2013 AllergyEats Food Allergy Conference for Restaurateurs. At that event, Harron provided valuable advice and actionable tips to other restaurateurs about how to successfully accommodate food-allergic guests. As part of his presentation, he explained the effective protocols that he has implemented in his restaurants. He also talked about the importance of ongoing food allergy training in every restaurant because the food service industry experiences so much employee turnover, and all employees must be well-educated on this topic.
Burtons Grill has earned and developed a stellar reputation for their allergy-friendly practices. Guests say they appreciate that Burtons offers “hassle free” dining experiences, many safe menu options and a well-trained staff. As a result, Burtons Grill repeatedly receives very high AllergyEats ratings and feedback. Burtons Grill also recently signed onto the AllergyEats partnership program, which means they’re sharing additional relevant information with the food allergy community on the AllergyEats site and app.
Not only are Burtons Grill’s allergy-friendly protocols good for their customers, but they’re great for Burtons’ business as well. Burtons Grill – like so many other allergy-friendly restaurants – is finding that they’re able to increase their customer loyalty and profits by being so accommodating.
So what do you think? Have you been to a Burtons Grill? If so, what kind of experience did you have? Would you look forward to visiting a Burtons restaurant if your travels brought you near one? (I have personal experience with Burtons and have to say that they are absolutely out-of-this-world accommodating… and, oh by the way, with spectacular food too! But that’s my opinion and I’d like to hear yours.) Use the Reply box below to share your thoughts.
Also, please remember to rate any restaurants you’ve visited recently on the core AllergyEats site or free app. Each time you add a new restaurant rating, you make AllergyEats a more valuable resource for our entire community… and you allow us to share with the “food allergy world” how incredibly accommodating Burtons Grill and other restaurants are.