How to become an allergy-friendly restaurant: 3 key steps

Updated: Oct 4

Now that Natasha's Law has come into effect, it’s never been so important to manage allergens efficiently and with transparency.


Approximately 2 million people in the UK suffer from some kind of food allergy - and some of them might just be your customers. Following best practices for allergen handling helps ensure that your customers stay safe and protected, and so does your brand reputation.


There are many factors and steps involved in managing allergens in a restaurant, from product separation to avoid cross contamination to the creation of an allergen menu to accurately inform customers. Whether you run a pub, restaurant, bakery or a coffee shop, you’ve got a duty to protect your customers and prevent allergic reactions.


Here are 3 steps to help transform your premises into a more allergy-friendly restaurant:


restaurant illustration

1. Have an allergen control plan in place


Having an allergen control plan in place is key to becoming more allergy-friendly.


An allergen control plan is essentially a document that covers the handling, storage, packaging, processing and identification of allergens in your restaurant.


These are the main components of an allergen control plan:

  • Regularly updated allergen procedures

  • Storage of raw material

  • Implementation of a colour-coded system (e.g. having dedicated utensils for certain ingredients)

  • Production scheduling (moving allergens to the end of the production process helps reduce risk of contamination)

  • Effective cleaning

  • Label review policies

  • Staff training

  • Supply chain management


Remember it’s important to keep allergen foods and ingredients in a segregated storage area to prevent cross contamination.


Important actions to prevent allergen cross contamination include:

  • Washing hands frequently and thoroughly

  • Cleaning utensils after every use

  • Cleaning kitchen surfaces regularly

  • Being aware of ingredients used in dishes (including sauces and dressings)

  • Updating allergen information if a recipe changes

  • Communicating risks to customers


If you aren’t able to avoid cross contamination when preparing meals, allergens must be added to your dish’s ingredient list and customers must be made aware.


2. Keep an up-to-date allergen menu


According to the Food Standards Agency, food businesses must tell customers if any of the food they sell contains an allergen as a dish ingredient.


By law, you are required to declare the following 14 allergens:


  • Crustaceans

  • Tree nuts

  • Mustard

  • Sesame

  • Sulphites and sulphur dioxide

  • Eggs

  • Lupin

  • Fish

  • Molluscs

  • Cereals containing gluten

  • Celery

  • Soybeans

  • Peanuts


Selling food directly to your customers? You must provide accurate allergen information in writing. There are different ways in which this can be done. One of them is by having a menu with full allergen information.


Furthermore, you need to make sure that you include up-to-date allergen information in product specification sheets, ingredient labels, dish explanations and recipes.


If you own a restaurant, the Hubl app’s interactive allergen menu is a great option. Designed by food safety specialists, the app is a digital, intuitive solution for managing and tracking allergens. It features a product catalogue (listing all your dishes and allergen ingredients), a filter functionality and history tracking (very helpful when any changes occur). The Hubl app also lets you add eating requirements - vegan and vegetarian - so that you can further tailor your offerings to each customer.