How much are food-allergic diners worth?

Far from being a chore, altering your restaurant business to cater for people with allergies could turn out to be quite a profitable business. Former stock fund manager Paul Antico has analysed how much power the food allergy and celiac community can influence – and it is quite a lot!

Roughly 5% of the population of America have known food allergies or gluten intolerance, and assuming that some will never take the chance to eat out and others will try their luck anywhere, there are still about 9 million food allergic diners whose business can be won over by allergy-friendly restaurants.

If just one person in a family or group has allergies, the whole group will seek an allergy-friendly restaurant. And Antico has estimated a group to be made up of three members, which is especially conservative given that there is a greater prevalence among children who tend to eat out in parties of four or more. So there is a 9% or greater potential business increase for an allergy-friendly restaurant. Many restaurants are already taking measures to accommodate food allergic and intolerant guests – training staff, creating gluten-free menu options, providing ingredients lists and seeking industry certifications. The feedback is that if a restaurant cannot accommodate food allergic people, their business will be taken to a place than will.

Antico’s website, AllergyEats, was started after he became frustrated when eating out with his two allergic sons. AllergyEats lists over half a million allergy-friendly restaurants in the US. See

Source: Allergy Eats

First published in January 2011  

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