The Food Allergy Advisor™ Ranking System is designed as a quick reference tool to help you identify the restaurants that are the best at providing clear and complete information that food allergy diners need to enjoy meals out with confidence.
The Food Allergy Advisor™ reviews and rates restaurants allergy menus for allergy friendly interfaces as well as allergy friendly options. The Food Allergy Advisor™ provides expert opinion and trusted advice.
Table of Contents
The Ranking System is Based on Four Major Criteria:
- The intuitiveness of the food allergy menu
- The confidence the menu offers to food allergy diners
- Overall completeness of the food allergy menu
- The food allergy friendly ranking
Each category is ranked on a scale of zero to five stars. Together, these categories are combined to provide a single overall score.
Intuitiveness ranking is based on:
Easy to Understand
Sometimes even great information is presented poorly. The best sites provide great information that is easy to digest.
Ease of Mobile Access
Sometimes webpages just don’t translate well to a mobile device. Have you ever been sitting in a restaurant trying to navigate their site on your phone as the waitress waits for your order?
The best websites use responsive web design to provide sites that translate well from computer to mobile.
Easy to Find Allergy Information on Actual Company Website
“Sure, we have an allergy menu on our website” – ever here that only to spend the next 20 minutes trying to find what you’re looking for? The best sites provide “one click to content” user experiences.
Easy to Sort
Are you able to sort according to your own specific allergy(ies)? The best sites allow users to sort categories to find safe choices.
Is there an Application for Your Phone?
As opposed to mobile web, native apps may offer the best, most intuitive, and most complete food allergy menus.
Confidence Ranking is based on the following:
Is there Ambiguity?
Sometimes great design ideas are just confusing in practice. The best sites leave no room for ambiguity.
Is there a Mission Statement?
A corporate statement on a restaurants’ approach to food allergies can go a long way in letting you know that they understand and take food allergies seriously.
Are there Personal Touches (ex: tell your server)
Sometimes it gives that extra feeling of confidence when the allergy menu encourages you to inform your server or ask to speak to the manager or (my favorite) the cook/chef.
Has the Menu Been Updated Within Six Months?
It can be concerning when a food allergy menu is dated from several years ago. It begs the question, “is this information even correct?”
Food allergy information/menus with an “updated on” date can provide a lot of extra peace of mind.
Are there Clear Cross Contamination Statements
Cross contamination is a fact of life and everyone with food allergies must manage that according to their own risks.
Cross contamination statements not only provide helpful information, but additional insight as to how well a restaurant understands food allergies.
Completeness Ranking is based on the following:
Are All Nine Major Allergens Included?
Not just the top 8 but the top 9 allergen? Sesame has been added as one of the top 9 food allergies in the United States.
Are Other Allergens that are Not in the Top 9 Included?
The top 9 aren’t the only allergies, does the menu somehow include other allergens?
Are Full Ingredient Lists Available for Menu Items?
Some restaurants prepare “food allergen binders” which contain pictures of allergy labels from the individual ingredients used to make the food.
The goal here is not to have a food allergy binder but to see if these major chains actually list product ingredients.
Is the Nutrition Information Easy to Compare to the Food Allergy Information
Do you have to go out of the food allergy menu to find nutrition information?
Is it Easy to Complete an Online Order within the Food Allergy Section of the Menu?
If the restaurant offers online ordering can you click on the desired food that you would like to order from within the food allergy menu to add that item to your shopping bag/cart?
Allergy Friendly Ranking
To Rank for Allergy Friendliness there should be a large amount of selections for each menu category. Categories include:
This is evaluated by each of the major food allergens (tree nut, peanut, shellfish, fish, soy, wheat, egg, milk, and sesame).
This category is most heavily weighed for the overall score.
The Food Allergy Advisor™ Seal of Approval
The Food Allergy Advisor™ aims to recognize restaurants that are putting forth effort in helping those who deal with food allergies. Restaurants with the highest overall scores earn “The Food Allergy Advisor™ seal of Approval.”
The Food Allergy Advisor’s™ hope is that this ranking system may possibly encourage change within restaurants that will help individuals with food allergies dine with ease and greater confidence.
The Food Allergy Advisor™ Scoring System is for menus in the United States and review is based on the date/time that the food allergy menu was accessed.
The Food Allergy Advisor™ will make best efforts to update restaurant scores periodically.
Global chain supply issues may affect menu items at restaurants. Be sure to read individual statements for all restaurants regarding changes in menus/ingredients and their statements regarding cross contamination.
Ranking a restaurant here does not guarantee that the particular restaurant is safe for your individual needs.
Last Updated on February 27, 2023 by Amber DeVore, RD, CSSD, CLT