If a guest asks a question about the potential for an allergen in a dish, how confident are you in the response your employees are likely to provide? If a guest experiences an allergic reaction while in your restaurant, how confident are you that your staff can respond with speed, efficiency and sensitivity? Chick-fil-A is one restaurant brand that has earned accolades for its handling of such questions. In a recent webinar from Food Safety Magazine, Steven Lyon, Ph. D, the brand’s director of food safety – field operations, shared some information about how Chick-fil-A manages communication around allergens, as well as its response to guest concerns and allergen reactions. The brand uses a number of safety nets to support staff. For example, while servers should be able to describe dishes, tell guests how an item is prepared, and suggest items that don’t contain the allergen in question, Chick-fil-A employees can help guests make a more informed decision about a dish by hitting a button on the POS system to generate a list of allergens in a food. The kitchen helps ensure cross-contamination doesn’t happen by using separate cooking oils and fryers for allergens, clearly identifying allergens on an order, confirming the order with staff, and delivering the order to the guest to ensure there is no cross-contamination from plate to plate. Beyond the cooking process, they label food packaged onsite, work with suppliers to understand the potential for allergens to be introduced during food production, and use a system that sends its stores recall updates in real time. If a guest has a reaction, Lyon recommends having a minimum response plan. For example, that may include knowing to call 911, what details to provide an emergency responder, and how to take care of a guest waiting for help – information that may or may not be common knowledge among your staff.