With food allergies, researching and ordering safe meals at a restaurant can be a time-consuming, frustrating, and anxiety provoking experience.
Now there is an app designed to make dining out easier and safer for people with food restrictions, and it streamlines accommodating food allergic customers for participating restaurants.
The iPhone and Android compatible app called DineSafe invites eateries to add their menu offerings to the DineSafe database. Then, hungry app users can quickly locate restaurants able to meet their specific dietary needs. The app currently tracks 32 allergens plus 11 dietary preferences. By contrast, restaurants are only required to track the top eight U.S. allergens; the rest are optional.
First-time users enter their diet restrictions into the app, then DineSafe dishes up custom menus - within those restrictions - offered by local participating establishments. Food allergic customers win by enjoying a more relaxed dining experience, and the restaurants win by creating a loyal customer base of individuals and families living with food allergies. Close to 8,000 restaurants in the U.S. already participate and more are following suit every week.
Not surprisingly, DineSafe was the brainchild of a hospitality professional who knows first-hand about the difficulties of eating out with food restrictions. So, not only does the app help those with food allergies, it also caters to people having special food preferences - such as paleo, vegan, vegetarian, or kosher. Future DineSafe plans involve adding the carbohydrate, protein, fat, and calorie contents of menu items.
A Forward-Thinking Tool
"Here at DineSafe, #KnowWhatsInYourFood is more than a hashtag--it's a mantra," says Nick Caturano, DineSafe, LLC co-founder and head of operations. "We are forward-thinking and created to get out ahead of food allergy regulations and the food preference trends because we know what it's like to live with food allergies."
"DineSafe provides restaurants with an accurate, real-time tool for keeping track of all menu item ingredients in a centralized location and a standardized format that helps guests, servers, chefs, and even hosts or hostesses access the information and use it in a way that caters to their establishments and their customers personally."
Though the company actively recruits eateries to join DineSafe, users might also mention the app and its benefits to their favorite local restaurants—the larger the menu database, the better for all app fans. If an establishment doesn’t have time to input their menu, the app company provides assistance through the DineSafe website (link below).
DineSafe is free for both consumers and restaurants. The app is available on Google Play, and at the Apple App Store.