Co-Creation with Food Allergies


Many people have developed an allergy for some certain food. It looks like some kind of trend nowadays; a lot of people are deleting some ingredients in their daily meals. Some people are just trying a new diet, hoping they will lose weight. But the amount of people who really have an allergy is high. It is very difficult for those people to control what they eat. When they cook themselves they can easily check all the ingredients. Therefore it is really difficult for them to eat in a restaurant, because they have no control. Those restaurants also want to satisfy their customers, they are also concerned with corporate social responsibility (CSR). There must become accessible information for the restaurant about how to respond on those particular customers. The main problem is the lack of information of the employees. Most of the time the employees do not know which ingredients are in the dishes. Sometimes, they do not want to admit this and as a result they do give a wrong advice. Second, the employees are somewhat uncertain about the ingredients, and they will ask the cook. They come back and look at least as uncertain as before, this affects the customer. The customer will become even more insecure, because no know really knows if it will cause damage, as it happens an allergic reaction.

Restaurants need to deal with this issue. This has influence on the entire business, the menu formulations, and the methods of obtaining ingredients, maintenance of the ingredients’ information, employee training, cooking and storage. It is about the whole design until the meal is places on the table. The process must become easier for the restaurant as well as for the customer. Therefore they need mobile devices, like an smartphone or an tablet. This can be installed as an app on the customers’ device or an mobile device owned by the restaurant. The customer can see which dishes are appropriate for him/her and the cook can see this easily. Even when there are some questions or uncertainties, the chef can quickly asks the customer to clarify. There is no need for an intervening employee, but when the app is explicit there is not even need for questions. The customer can also identify the amount of certain herbs and spices is allowed. The customer can give feedback and help develop the app. When a customer identifies the personal allergy, it can indicate what is related to this allergy. When there are more customers, it will become some sort of a database that is easy and quick to access for restaurant(s). This needs some extra money to invest in the mobile devices for the restaurants. But this will be paid back finally. Customers with allergies will be able to dine out in nice restaurants. They will not be alone but bring – most of the time – at least one person with them, therefore a double win-win for the restaurant!

Sources

  • Khosrow-Pour, M. (2014). Inventive Approaches for Technology Integration and Information Resources Management. IGI Global. 317-332
  • Robert J. Harrington , Michael C. Ottenbacher & Kelly A. Way (2013) QSR Choice: Key Restaurant Attributes and the Roles of Gender, Age and Dining Frequency, Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, 14:1, 81-100
  • http://www.foodallergy.org/facts-and-stats

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