DISCLAIMER: I will not reveal the name of the restaurant. The point is not to place blame but, rather, to see what happened and how I relay that information in a letter. The restaurant in question took steps to correct these problems and were very cooperative.
Dear Ms. *****:
I am writing to follow up on a frustrating and disappointing experience which took place on June 9th at [Restaurant].
I have been a loyal customer of [Restaurant] ever since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease several years ago. My family and friends frequently dine at your restaurant, in particular, because of your voiced commitment to providing gluten free food and health conscious service.
On June 9th, however, I was not only flabbergasted by the lack of knowledge of your staff but was ultimately physically harmed by their poor training. I ordered the vegan Mac n’ Cheese and asked for it to be prepared gluten free. The waiter took note of that. As he was walking away, I reminded him to make sure it was going to be prepared gluten free. Upon receiving the dish, I asked the waiter, for the third time, to confirm that it was gluten free. The waiter assured me that it was and left the table. With that assurance, I took a few bites of the dish, but for some reason still felt very uneasy. Consequently, I called the waiter over one more time and asked him to double check with the kitchen staff.
Upon returning from the kitchen, he then informed me that the dish was not prepared gluten free! He said that the fried “crispy onions” that were sprinkled on top of the dish were not gluten free, but that the pasta was safe. Needless to say, I was horrified that I had ingested even (what I thought at the time) was a small amount of gluten. My nightmare had only just begun.
After returning home, I began to feel sick and woke up the next morning with tell-tale blisters covering my arms. Consequently, I went back to [Restaurant] to ask some questions about what I had actually consumed. A different server informed me that [Restaurant] does not have gluten free pasta at all and in fact the ONLY part of the dish that was gluten free had been the crispy onions! One of your servers got the information completely backwards resulting in my consumption of pure wheat gluten. I cannot describe how betrayed, not to mention, physically ill I felt. And while my physical symptoms are abating, the sense of betrayal remains.
I do not want to eliminate [Restaurant] from my list of restaurant choices; however, appropriate action needs to be taken. Your staff, both servers and kitchen team, need to be properly trained and must be aware of what allergens are in the dishes that you serve. The customers trust your restaurant, and it is unfair to lure us into a false sense of security. Your website proclaims that [Restaurant] continues to base its mission on [Owner]’s goal of sharing “well being.” Unfortunately, my well being was seriously damaged by my experience at [Restaurant].
I look forward to hearing from you with respect to this experience and what actions you are taking to ensure that no one else experiences this level of harm because of inadequately trained staff.