Navigating Dietary Restrictions: Tips for Catering to All Guests

Buffet Dinner Restaurant Catering Food Concept

Catering is the best way to successfully feed and provide delicious options for all your guests! When you’re hosting an event, the last thing you want is for someone to leave hungry! Whether it is dietary restrictions, allergies, or fitting into your guests’ preferences, finding foods that fit the needs of everyone can sometimes be tricky. To successfully navigate dietary restrictions, let’s gain a better understanding of how to meet the expectations of all your guests

The best way to ensure your guests’ needs are met is to ask questions. You should ask questions regarding dietary restrictions and allergies. Someone’s diet may be restricted based on religious practices, health concerns, or being allergic to certain food groups. Asking guests of dietary restrictions will convey that you respect your guests’ needs and take their concerns seriously. It is important to have open communication with the guests when discussing their concerns. People with diet restrictions and allergies may have prior negative experiences with careless or dismissive catering. 

Plan for Dietary Restrictions Before the Event

Build the menu with any restrictions you know in mind. A great way to ask your guests’ to clarify nutritional needs and food allergies is to send out a questionnaire separately or include it within the RSVP. Doing this is also a great way to find out if your guests would enjoy a proposed menu, and allow them to suggest something in replacement of the food they are unable to eat. 

Make Arrangements for Guests With Allergies 

Take note of guests with allergies. These requests are important because an emergency can occur if they ingest the wrong foods. It is best practice to take note of where these people will sit on the seating chart. Perhaps you want to group these people together so they aren’t dining around or near foods they are allergic to.

Tips to Meet the Needs of All Guests 

The best way to meet the dietary needs of all your guests is to provide an array of foods. Give your guests the option to choose what they eat by providing the choices in a buffet presentation. If this sounds unappealing to you, allow us to serve the food too with our full service option

Next, label all menu items so that guests are informed when foods contain allergens. Along with this, place foods that contain allergens, such as nuts for example, at a different table away from allergen free foods. You may also consider creating a separate buffet line including all the allergen free foods or dietary restricted options together. 

Most Common Dietary Restrictions  

Dietary restrictions can be difficult to work with when you are unsure what the restriction entails! Here are the most common food restrictions:

  • Gluten: Gluten allergies should avoid eating foods such as wheat, barley, and rye. 
  • Lactose intolerance: It is best to serve lactose free alternatives to foods containing milk. 
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes focus on consuming foods from all food groups while limiting refined grains and foods with high amounts of sugar. 
  • Vegan: Vegans rely on plant based foods. It is best practice to ask guests if cheese is also restricted. 
  • Vegetarian: Vegetarians steer away from meat options. It is best to avoid all meat products, and ask the guest if eggs are acceptable. 
  • Kosher: Kosher restrictions apply to those in the Jewish community. Kosher restrictions vary based upon the individual; ask these guests what foods they can and cannot consume. 

Most Common Food Allergies

Plan for any situation! Food allergies can result in life threatening reactions. Here are the most common food allergies, and how to avoid an emergency occurring at your next event. 

  • Nuts: This category includes, but is not condensed to tree nuts, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnut, cashews, almonds, pine nuts, pistachios, and macadamia nuts. Provide food options that are nut free for your guests with nut allergies, and clarify your guests will not have an allergic reaction even if they are near to nuts. 
  • Wheat: Wheat allergies lead to adverse reactions to wheat ingredients. Provide guests with a gluten free option, or have one specially made for those who need it. 
  • Fish and shellfish: Some individuals may be allergic to certain parasites or toxins found inside fish. Shellfish allergies are commonly associated with intaking mussels, clams, oysters, lobster, crab, and shrimp. 

Contact Cater Dallas

Planning a menu that fits the needs of all your guests can be complicated and time consuming. Although, when you work with Cater Dallas, you don’t have to decide how to meet their needs! You tell us what you need, and we do all the work to make your dream become reality. Contact us today to plan your next catered event!