By Karen Blue
I have long been impressed with the allergy guide at Swiss Chalet so I decided to find out how other restaurants owned by the same company compared. Swiss Chalet is owned by Cara Operations Limited, a Canadian company also owns Restaurant chains Harvey’s, Kelsey’s Milestones and Montana’s Cookhouse. Cara decided to discontinue using peanut free ice creams, and have gained mixed reviews from people with allergies.
Swiss Chalet offers several dairy and gluten-free items, and information on other allergens. Their Chickens are even prepared on a gluten and milk free table. Swiss Chalet has locations in most areas of Canada.
Coza Tuscan Grill in Langley BC, also owned by Cara Operations limited, does not have an allergy guide online. Harvey’s has a good allergy guide on their website, but fast food is rarely on my menu.
Kelsey’s I was less than impressed with, but I have hopes for! They did not have an allergy guide on their website. The location I went to have an outdated ingredient list that was a year old and was incomplete. For instance in some food choices they did not say what the enriched flour was enriched with (milk? folic acid?) or if the caramel was milk or sugar based leaving the dairy question open. I however talked to a very interested and aware manager at Kelsey’s. He said that with some of the menu items they where replacing wheat flour with rice flour. He also said the company is trying to improve its allergy menu.
Montana’s Cookhouse interestingly had parts of an allergy guide on its website and parts missing. Sometimes it is incomplete, on their website, but if you print the guide it does print complete. The chain I went to did not have an allergy guide at the location.
When I went to Milestones neither the kitchen staff or waitress new what an allergy guide was, or what an ingredient list was. The staff I spoke with had little interest in learning.
Note locations can differ in their allergy awareness and know how. Companies that are allergy aware can drop allergy guides. Restaurants once hopeless can become very allergy aware. It is always up to you to determine what is safe.
There are restaurants that focus strictly on a peanut free or wheat free or other allergy market. These restaurants however, are mostly in large cities. No matter where you eat it is up to you to decide what is safe.