How Nacho Cheese caters for customers with allergies
We caught up with year’s regional and overall British Takeaway Award winners, Nacho Cheese, to ask owner Lorraine Priestley how she has adapted her menu to provide more options for customers with allergies.
Why did you look to change your menu?
We opened Nacho Cheese in 2012, and within the first 6 months we realised several of our customers had different dietary needs or preferences. Some Coeliac, Lactose intolerant and some with more severe allergies. We decided to base our menu around these requirements to cater for all. We have always had a wide range of vegetarian dishes but with the increased demand for vegan dishes over the last few years we began to make these changes too.
What do you offer that’s different on your menu?
Our menu is based on a ‘create your own’ style. Almost every dish can be created to the customer’s needs or preferences, whether it be gluten or dairy free, vegan, more or less spicy - even healthier options and ways of cooking. Each customer can create their own personal dish.
Was it easy to make these changes?
The changes we made to offer the ‘create your own’ menu were reasonably easy. Every main ingredient is ready to be made into the customer’s choice. Whether it is swapping tortilla wraps for gluten free wraps, or cheese for vegan cheese, everything is made easier for the chefs to create that personal dish. And of course, doing this keeps it safe for our customers with dietary needs and allergies.
Do many customers ask for these alternatives?
We have many customers with dietary needs and preferences. I think our approach to these needs are the main reason our customer base has grown so rapidly over the last few years. With myself being diagnosed with Coeliac disease 3 years ago our customers are saying they feel very safe eating from us. We have certainly seen a massive increase in these alternatives over the last few years.
What's the best seller among your gluten free menu options?
One of our best sellers is the Gluten Free ‘Create your own Baked Burrito’. Customers get to choose one of our homemade gluten free sauces to top their favourite burrito, along with pulled meats, roasted vegetables, beans, jackfruit and flavoured rice.
How easy is it to source the items?
Most gluten free products are easily accessible these days. Wholesale suppliers are introducing a wider range of gluten free products which are getting better tasting all the time. It’s also easy to swap regular flour for gluten free when making dishes such as sauces, desserts and many more dishes.
Any advice you would give other restaurants that are thinking about changing or updating their menu?
Care for and listen to your customers. These are the people that know what they want and need, and they keep you in business. Give them what they like, and they will be happy. It’s easy to accommodate small changes to keep customers coming back for more. It is also very important to train staff to a high level so that customers can feel safe eating at your restaurant.
Our thanks to Lorraine for taking the time to talk with us.