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 Mr. *****:
“Eat at your own risk.” That is the challenging reality of the life of someone who suffers from Celiac Disease.
I was diagnosed with celiac disease several years ago, and my life changed forever. No longer was food a source of comfort and joy, but rather it became something of which I now had to be wary and even afraid. The pleasure of eating out and experiencing amazing cuisine was hampered by the fact that I could no longer simply order something that looked or sounded amazing. Instead, I became that customer – the one with a million questions, the one who seemed to hold servers hostage at the table, the one with whom order taking became a chore.
At [Restaurant], however, I thought I had found a culinary haven. It was a place designed to accommodate different needs and it had a true philosophy on which it based its practices. Unfortunately, an experience earlier this month has shattered that impression. I know this all may sound melodramatic, but it is important for you to understand its importance in the life of someone with celiac disease. We cannot take food for granted – our joy is always tempered by our fear. That is the burden we bear and finding a place in which we can feel safe and let down our guard for a moment is not something we take for granted. We share that information with others in the celiac community. We promote and we praise that restaurant. To then be harmed by that same institution is very distressing. When someone with celiac disease ingests gluten, the aftermath is not just a few hours of stomach pain – that is just the beginning for us. Our physical reactions can take days, even weeks to subside and they are not pleasant.
I am grateful to you, [Owner], for reading the attached letter I have sent to your General Manager concerning my recent experience at [Restaurant]. I hope it will encourage all of you to really take seriously your role in promoting well being and that it will result in better training of your staff. It can’t just be words on a website – it needs to be actions on the floor.
Thank you very much.