A fed-up restaurant owner has hit out at “snowflake” diners who are crippling the industry with food demands because they are picky eaters.
Vikki Wood has published a list of demands from a table of diners during the festive season to highlight a problem blighting the restaurant trade.
And she has suggested it has reached a point when restaurants will demand a doctor’s note to prove that an allergy is genuine in a bid to weed out the fakers.
The list of requests submitted by five people on the table runs to more than a dozen different issues, from an allergy to “rare” meat, to a dislike of gazpacho.
One of the diners claims to be vegan – then orders the dairy-heavy chocolate creme brulee for dessert from The Wee Restaurant’s festive menu.
Vikki, who operates branches of the highly regarded restaurant in Edinburgh and Fife, has been backed by numerous other frustrated restaurateurs across the UK.
She said: “By Christmas Day, we have had the life sucked out of us.
“A very esteemed chef spoke on Friday at an event I was at and said this is killing the catering industry and is our biggest challenge. Not the genuine allergies, but the faux dietaries.
“That’s the only folk the hospitality industry has a problem with – the faux dietaries aka picky eaters.
“If people are genuinely allergic or intolerant, they should be well catered for. The catering industry needs to fight back.
“A genuine NHS letter from a GP stating allergies of person should be required, otherwise, no. Genuine folk wouldn’t mind. They must get annoyed at fakers too.
“We find they know what they are doing. They book then just nonchalantly add their contradictory allergies in at the end.
“It was the same last Christmas. Lots over the year, but it seems to go into overdrive during the month of December.
“Unfortunately, we are not financially able to turn away bookings. We make the best of it.”
Vikki’s social media post highlighting the issue attracted support from across the sector, with some branding fussy diners as “snowflakes”.
One Mile Bakery Hale commented: “That is shameful. Those people have clearly had a funny tummy once and then added to their list of laughable ‘allergens’.”
Chef Jon Fell added: “It makes you intolerant of the people who are intolerant.”
Crieff-based Delivino said: “For each genuine customer request, there must be at least 10 playing at it. A dangerous, ridiculous and exasperating game.”
In April, one of Scotland’s top chefs sparked a social media storm after lashing out at the rapid rise in diners claiming to have “special dietary requirements.”
Multiple award-winning chef Craig Millar launched an outspoken attack on diners falsely claiming to have allergies and following fad diets.
The owner of the highly-rated 16 West End in St Monans, Fife, prompted a backlash from vegan and allergic diners, but was strongly backed by other industry figures and loyal customers.
Millar told critics: “I do take food intolerances seriously.
“It’s when I get requests for specific diets, for example vegan, I prepare an entire tasting menu, then they decide to eat fish that night. Dairy-free diet – prepare whole menu, then they order a cappuccino.
“Genuine food intolerances I don’t mind.”