social spark Aisling Beatha: Eating out with Gastroparesis - "Company Policy" v "Manager's Discretion"

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Thursday, July 06, 2017

Eating out with Gastroparesis - "Company Policy" v "Manager's Discretion"

When your adult son has digestive conditions that mean he has to eat 6 small meals a day and you have a week coming up where you will all need to eat out for a number of days you start planning ahead and emailing head offices of a number of restaurant chains to ask PERMISSION (yes it's ridiculous) for an adult to eat from the child's menu.

Some are amazing and tell you that yes of course it is possible and anyone is allowed to eat from their children's menu at any time for any reason - YAY for Wagamama

Some do not even bother to reply to your emails even though this is the second time you have emailed them with a similar question - Yes I'm talking about you Bella Italia

And some give you this ridiculous response that feigns concern for your son whilst saying that any decision on allowing an adult to eat from the children's menu would have to be at an individual manager's discretion. - Yes, that's you Whitbread group.

Here's why that is not OK.
  1. Individual manager's discretion rather than company policy breaks disability legislation as my son's conditions are classed as a disability. Anything that would be classed as a normal part of living (and eating is part of that) comes under disability discrimination legislation.
  2. Individual manager's discretion means that any time my son wants to eat out he cannot plan ahead like any normal person, check out the menu online and think "Yes. I'll be able to eat there", he has to wait until he gets there and risk being turned away or have the embarrassment and expense of having to play phone tag trying to get hold of a manager, ahead of time in order to ask a question that should not need to be asked.
We've had people tell us he should just buy a normal adult portion and take half home or leave half of it or whatever. 
  1. It's embarrassing always having to ask for a take out box in front of friends and family and especially if it colleagues and so on.
  2. In my son's case he knows that if the full portion is placed in front of him he will be tempted to risk it "just this once" and pay for it later.
  3. Taking it home is all very well if you are going straight home, but does not work if you staying in a hotel room without a fridge or heading somewhere else (such as the cinema or for a shopping trip) before going home.
  4. Just leaving it is incredibly wasteful in a time when we are all being encouraged to be more careful with food waste.
  5. Why should he be forced to pay for food he is not going to be able to eat just so that he can eat with friends and family.
 These chains all have gluten free and dairy free items clearly marked on their menus so they are used to dealing with issues such as that around food, and willing to comply on those issues. Why can it not be company wide policy to also allow an adult who needs to, to eat from the children's menu?


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