For the first time, I’ve been asked to leave the restaurant because of my food allergies.
“No outside food!” No outside food!” Some restaurants are strict on their “no outside food” rule. When you have food allergies or sensitivities and you go to a restaurant you know you can’t eat at because you’ve called ahead and asked or you’ve been there before, you still would like to eat with your family, so you bring your own food only to find out that you can’t eat it there.
The other day, we went out, away from home, to visit Mohegan Sun in Connecticut for the weekend. We were in a hotel where all there is is a mini fridge and a bunch of restaurants, so you can’t really bring your own meal, but a lot of snacks that don’t really need to be refrigerated. I’ve learned with restaurants and food sensitivities, you need to bring your own food in case there is absolutely nothing you can eat and that’s exactly what I did except this time it fired back at me.
My sister wanted to eat at the Sugar Factory at Foxwoods because of all the fancy drinks, desserts, and food, but we went there last year and I discovered that there is absolutely nothing I can eat because of my sensitivity to canola oil and soy lecithin. Knowing that, I didn’t want to go, but wanted to make my sister happy and still be there with them and eat with my family, so I decided to bring my own food.
In the same plaza as the Sugar Factory is a bunch of restaurants part of the casino and the one restaurant I knew I could eat at was Panera Bread. So, I ordered my Mac N’ Cheese to-go and we walked over to the Sugar Factory not wanting to miss our reservation. The plan was to eat my food first and then sit with my family at the restaurant, but since we were short on time, I brought the food with me.
We sat down and ordered our drinks and my family ordered their meals, that’s when I took out my food. Out of nowhere comes this lady, who goes up to our table and says nothing but, “no outside food!” I didn’t quite hear what she said because it was loud in the restaurant so I said, “what?” She repeats, “no outside food!” So I’m like, “oh okay, I’ll eat it outside.” I’m not one to argue, if someone asks me to leave, I’ll leave, but like there could be a nicer way of asking me to bring the food outside. Then she says, “you can leave it here, you just can’t eat it here.” Well, I’m hungry and I have my food, I’m not gonna sit and wait for my family to get their food and then eat it and leave and then eat mine now cold. So I left the restaurant.
I left my sister all alone at the table while my mom was checking her points on her card. I’m now sitting in the corner by myself, luckily still inside the building since it’s all connected and in the casino, but outside of the restaurant awkwardly eating as I watch people walk by and look over at me. It wasn’t a fun experience.
I wanted to eat with my family, be at the restaurant with my family, but I couldn’t do that, because I couldn’t eat my outside food in a different restaurant, which I have done multiple times before. I’ve even left a restaurant, them knowing I couldn’t eat anything, bought food at the grocery store close by and came back to eat with my family, no one saying a word or kicking me out. My mom even explained to the lady, whom I assume was a manger, that I have sensitivities and couldn’t eat anything there and she didn’t care at all. She still was repeating, “no outside food!”
If you walk into Starbucks, buy a drink and sit down and enjoy your drink with your allergy-friendly snack that you brought from home, would they kick you out because of your outside food? People bring their own food into the movie theatre all the time even with the “no outside food” rule, and you don’t see authorities going around kicking people out. Why can’t I eat my safe meal that I brought with my family at a restaurant?
Is that discrimination against those with allergies? I knew I couldn’t eat there because of past experience. I’m away and didn’t have any food at the hotel. It’s not like I could’ve went home and ate after my family ate at the restaurant. I wanted to be with my family and enjoy a meal with my family, eating together, but I couldn’t do that because of the “no outside food” rule even after explaining that I have sensitivities and couldn’t eat there. I didn’t want to eat alone at the hotel or in a different restaurant, I wanted eat with the family, but ended up eating alone in the corner. It was 2 o’clock and I was extra hungry, I wanted food too and didn’t want to wait like 2 more hours to eat after everyone else ate their meals, so I thought why not bring the food with me, since we decided to get it before the restaurant and were running late.
I understand that it’s kind of disrespectful to bring competition to a restaurant, but what if you can’t eat the food provided? Would it be different if I took out a snack that I brought from home? I used to say to always bring back-up food and snacks just in case, but now I don’t even know if you can do that because not all restaurants allow outside food and they are strict on that. You would think that it would be okay to sit down at a table with family and friends and eat your food even if it’s not provided at the restaurant because of your allergies or sensitivities. Otherwise, what’s the point of even trying to go to a restaurant you can’t eat at? Just stay at home by yourself. Or atleast, that’s how I feel about it.
1st attempt: found out I can’t eat anything because of my sensitivity to canola oil, which is used for everything.
2nd attempt: knowing I can’t eat there, but still wanting to be with my family while away bringing food from elsewhere; got kicked out.
3rd attempt: why even bother going knowing A). I can’t eat anything there and B). I can’t bring in any other food to eat while starving?
That is why I avoid restaurants all together and most of the time I either eat alone and stay at home or my family decides not to go out and stay home with me because I can’t eat anything, which isn’t fair to them. It’s kind of a lose, lose situation. Restaurants are a challenge when you have dietary restrictions.