1. Don’t provide any useful information on your website, like a menu. Definitely don’t provide any allergy information. Force the customer to contact you. Extra points for having no e-mail address listed or a flash website that means you can’t copy and paste the e-mail address.
2. There are two approaches to crafting the most horrific menu. Firstly the “no information” approach: give no indication that you cater for allergies, and train your waiters not to recognise the word “allergy” or understand the concept of “wheat”. To really complete the charade, have managers or even the chef claim not to know whether something is gluten-free. The ingredients of your dishes should be as mysterious as possible.
The second approach is to provide information on a number of dietary choices and preferences, but stubbornly leave off gluten. You want to cater for vegetarians, vegans, kosher, halal, even those who want to know how spicy each meal is. Seriously, you don’t want your customers ordering a slightly-too-hot curry! Their mouths might tingle for a few seconds! But remember, gluten-free is just a passing fad, and it’s not important in any way.
3. Put gluten in normally safe dishes like risotto or baked potatoes, just to shake things up a bit. This will catch out those gluten-free eaters who are too shy to ask in depth about your ingredients or cross-contamination measures. You can have a lot of fun with this – think breadsticks stuck into risotto, deep fried thingys sprinkled on sushi, the more outlandish the better. Maybe someday someone with get away with garnishing a meal with just a slice of bread on top, for the ultimate in F- YOU! cuisine.
4. Have your staff perfect the art of poor communication. Bonus points for failing to relay the message at all to the kitchen, that requires commitment. Chefs don’t really like dealing with fussy people anyway, so it’s best not to anger them.
5. Never ever take someone with coeliac disease seriously. Once they’ve explained that even a small amount of gluten can leave them ill for days, even weeks, be sure to ignore that while you take the Yorkshire pudding off their plate like it’s no big deal, or pick the croutons out of that salad. And definitely bring them the complimentary paid-for starter of bread and olives.
6. Aim to say ‘yes’ as much as possible. Example: “is this dish gluten-free?” “Yes”. Don’t feel like you have to check. A happy customer is one who thinks they can choose from the entire menu. Luckily, unlike a reaction from a peanut allergy, you’ll never have to call an ambulance for a coeliac. Win-win!
In case anyone is still in any doubt, this was written with my tongue firmly in my cheek, and I DO NOT CONDONE any of these actions. Just covering my ass here!