Is there a cost for using this site?
No. Use of this site is free.
Do I have to sign up as a member to use this site?
You do not have to be a member if using the site to search for a restaurant, but you do need to sign up in order to rate a restaurant. However, we encourage everyone to become a member regardless of usage plans. (Please see “What is the benefit of becoming a member?”)
Do I have to enter my allergies on the home page?
While you do not have to enter your specific allergies on the home page to search for a restaurant, the more information you enter, the more specific and detailed results you will receive. (This is even more strongly encouraged when you rate a restaurant.)
What if my allergy isn’t listed on the home page?
If your allergy isn’t listed, please click the link “If you don’t see your allergy, click here.” Follow the simple instructions on that page to enter your specific allergies. Regardless, this site is just as valuable for a user without one of the listed food allergies or intolerances. To understand why, please see “What do the ratings mean?”
Do I need to enter a full address on the home page to find or rate a restaurant?
No. A city and state are all that is necessary. However, to see the restaurants nearest you, particularly in a large city, a full address is encouraged. When no address is entered, results are based around the center of the city. (Alternatively, you can use the “Browse by map” feature on the home page to centralize your search.)
A few things could be causing this problem. Fortunately, they’re easy to solve.
1) Please double-check the spelling of any fields entered.
2) If you included a ZIP code, please make sure it is the correct ZIP for the location you wish to search. If the database finds a ZIP code and a city that do not match, it uses the ZIP code for the search instead of the city.
3) ) If you entered a city and state with no ZIP code, please consider including the ZIP. Unfortunately, many mapping programs confuse a town name and a similarly-named region within the same state as two distinct towns. It then chooses one to display that may or may not be the actual town you’re trying to search. A ZIP code can solve this. Alternatively, you can use the “Browse by Map” feature to center the search most accurately.
4) If you entered a street address and it is misspelled, the search will be based around the center of the city.
5) Sometimes when a small town is entered, the mapping program centers on a larger nearby town (particularly if they share a ZIP code). This is generally the case with other database search services like Google, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc. To avoid this problem, either enter a full street address, click the button on the main page stating “Search by Town Only” (if that’s in fact what you’d like to do), or click “Browse by Map” from the home page and enter the city and state there (you can then slide the map so that the crosshairs center over the correct location).
6) When in doubt, you can always click the “Browse By Map” button to most accurately center your search.
The results of my search show distances that do not appear accurate. Can that be corrected?
Yes. If only a city and state were entered on the search page, the distances listed will be from the city’s geographic center. For accurate distances from a more specific location, either enter a street address on the home page or click “Browse by Map” and center the crosshairs over the location you wish to measure distances from.
What should I do if I get too many results when I search for a restaurant?
Try decreasing your search area with the dropdown box (default is 20 miles) either on the home page next to “Search by Distance” or at the top of the map page. Alternatively, you can click the “Search by Town Only” button on the home page instead of using the default option of “Search by Distance” (though this latter option will not guarantee fewer results).
I typed in the name of a restaurant on the search page, but it’s not coming up in the results. Why?
A number of issues can cause this, but most are an easy fix.
1) Double-check that you’ve entered the correct city.
2) The spelling has to be exactly the same as that in the database when entering a restaurant name. Try entering a portion of the name (it doesn’t have to be the beginning) and running the search again. (e.g. Try “Paul” or “rama” instead of “Pauls Burgerama” since the database may only recognize “Paul’s Burga-rama”).
3) The database is updated regularly but not instantaneously. If this is a new restaurant, feel free to “Report a Problem” and let us know.
4) The restaurant may simply not exist in the city you’re searching. Check the restaurant’s website.
What do the ratings mean?
The AllergyEats “Overall” Allergy Rating is denoted on a 1-5 scale as a measure of how well a restaurant is able to accommodate a patron with food allergies or intolerances, regardless of the specific allergy or intolerance. The rating is not designed to measure whether a restaurant’s menu does or does not fit with any specific allergies, but rather how comfortable any food allergic patron may feel that he or she can be served a safe meal, whether on or off the menu.
The “Chain” rating, where listed, is the same as the “Overall” rating except that it is a measure of all the U.S. units of the chain to which that restaurant belongs.
Allergy-specific ratings, where listed, are similar to the “Overall” rating, except that the results are based only on the feedback of users with that specific allergy or intolerance. These ratings will only be displayed for your specific allergies and if 3 or more people with that allergy have rated the restaurant. Once again, this is a measure of how well the restaurant was able to accommodate these patrons, regardless of the items on the menu.
Why do many search results have multiple ratings?
Each restaurant can generate up to three types of ratings. All restaurants have an “Overall” rating that measures the allergy-friendliness of that specific restaurant (see “What do the ratings mean?”for clarification). Some restaurants, if they are part of a chain, will generate a “Chain” rating measuring the combined results of all the chain’s U.S. units. And some restaurants will generate allergy-specific listings based on the user’s allergies (as entered on the home page).
Why do some of my search results have allergy-specific ratings and other don’t?
Search result listings will only show an allergy-specific rating if at least one individual with the same allergy has previously rated the restaurant.
Why do some restaurants have no rating?
With well over 600,000 restaurants in the United States, there are bound to be many restaurants that are not rated by a user. If you dine at one of these restaurants, we would greatly appreciate your rating it. The more restaurants we rate, the greater the benefit to all of us.
How are the ratings determined?
Ratings are derived from the results of the following question asked of those who rate a restaurant: “Overall, how comfortable were you with the restaurant’s ability and willingness to provide you with a meal that you could eat given your food allergies?” Allergy-specific ratings are the result of the answers to this question by those who have indicated that they have that specific allergy.
What influence do the restaurants have on their ratings?
Restaurants have no influence on their allergy-friendliness ratings. These are derived 100% by users.
How are the certifications determined?
Certifications listed in the search results table are determined by the certification body itself. AllergyEats does not certify restaurants. Please click on the specific certification logo for more details.
User participation in rating restaurants is the backbone of AllergyEats. By rating restaurants, you help others who suffer from food allergies and you keep AllergyEats alive. As others then also rate restaurants, the value of AllergyEats increases for you as well. So the more people who rate, the greater the value to all of us. This is a community effort.
In addition, if enough people show their dedication by rating restaurants, we might be able to change the habits of those restaurants which are currently not very allergy-friendly. By showing our numbers and demonstrating that we’re interested in allergy-friendly dining, restaurants may decide it is good for business to learn how to become sensitive to our community’s needs.
Why do I have to join to rate a restaurant?
The few minutes it takes to become an AllergyEats member before rating a restaurant allows us to maintain the integrity of the rating process and keep track of the number of ratings by a user for potential future benefits.
Do ratings expire?
A user’s ratings expire after one year. We thus encourage users to consistently rate even those restaurants they patronize regularly.
How often can I rate a specific restaurant?
You can rate a specific restaurant after every visit. While each of your ratings will replace the one before it, your continued willingness to rate a restaurant will prevent your rating from expiring. It will also help make sure your rating remains an accurate reflection of your experience at that restaurant. Lastly, it will allow us to recognize your commitment to helping make sure AllergyEats remains a useful tool for the allergy community.
What if I want to change my rating of a restaurant?
To change your rating of a restaurant, simply re-rate that restaurant with your up-to-date experience. The new rating will replace any prior rating of that restaurant you have made.
If I answer ‘no’ to the question asking whether or not the restaurant could accommodate me, why do I need to answer the other questions to submit my rating?
To get an accurate overall picture of a restaurant through the rating process, we need to ask that all three questions be answered. Further, a ‘no’ answer to the first question does not imply any particular answer to the second question, so it is still important that we receive your response. Again, the whole process should still take only a minute or so.
Is my personal information shared with 3rd parties?
No. Your information is kept private.
What is the benefit of becoming a member?
The most important benefit of membership is the ability to rate restaurants. By rating restaurants, you help provide the backbone of AllergyEats and increase its usefulness for all of us. The more people who rate, the better the site will be for the entire allergy community.
Further benefits to becoming a member include, but are not limited to, the following:
1) The ability to participate on message boards (coming soon).
2) The ability to share your thoughts on the AllergyEats blog.
3) Receiving notices regarding new features (many exciting ones coming soon!).
4) Allowing us to keep track of your rating frequency for potential future benefits.
5) Helping demonstrate the commitment of our users, which will allow us to pressure restaurants to become more allergy-friendly.
Why can’t I find a specific restaurant I’m looking for in the search results?
If you can’t find a specific restaurant, a few things could be wrong.
1) If you entered the restaurant name on the home page, it may not be spelled exactly as in the database. Try entering a portion of the name (it doesn’t have to be the beginning) and running the search again. (e.g. Try “Paul” or “rama” instead of “Pauls Burgerama” since the database may only recognize “Paul’s Burga-rama”).
2) Did you enter the correct town?
3) If there are a lot of listings on the results page, it may just be far down the list. If this is true, you should be able to find it by clicking on the “Restaurant” header to sort alphabetically.
4) If it is a new restaurant, it simply may not be in the database yet. Please notify us of the restaurant by clicking on “Report a Problem” on the left sidebar.
What should I do if your results show a restaurant that I know has closed?
Please click on “Report a Problem” (in the left sidebar) and let us know.
How do I notify you of an error I’ve found on your site?
We greatly appreciate feedback of any kind, especially if you’ve found an error. Please click on the “Report a Problem” link from the left sidebar from the top of the page to inform us of our error. We’ll try to correct it quickly.
What is a “Friend Site?”
A Friend Site is the site of an organization, a blogger, another allergy site, or anyone else who helps promote AllergyEats on their web page, in their newsletter, or on location. The promotion of AllergyEats by our friends helps us build traffic, increase the number of restaurant ratings, and therefore create a more valuable site for the entire food allergy community.
How do I become a partner of AllergyEats?
To become a partner or Friend Site of AllergyEats, please click on the “Friend Sites” link from the left sidebar and follow the instructions on that page. If you have a blog and would like to co-promote with AllergyEats, please click the link “Are you a blogger?” also on the left sidebar. We welcome anyone to become a Friend.
Will you share the comments of other bloggers regarding individual restaurants?
If you have a blog and periodically review restaurants relative to how they treat individuals with food allergies, we would be happy to link your entries to our site. Please click “Are you a blogger?” on the left sidebar for more information.
I sell allergy-free products. Can I link my web site to AllergyEats?
We anticipate adding an “Allergy-Free Products” link to AllergyEats in the near future. This page will co-promote web sites that sell allergy-free products. We will launch the link when we have enough sites that would like to participate. If you run one, please click the “Friend Sites” link on the left sidebar and follow the instructions on that page.
How do I submit a post on the blog?
We strongly encourage members of our community to share their experiences dining with food allergies. If you would like to post a full blog entry, please click the “Submit a Post” tab at the top of the blog page and follow the instructions. You must first sign up for AllergyEats membership (it’s free!) to submit a post.
How can I post a comment on a blog entry?
We strongly encourage feedback and discussion on our blog entries. If you’d like to post a comment and are an AllergyEats member, please click the “comments” link at the end of the blog entry.
Where can I get more information related to food allergies?
You can get more information from many of the links on the left sidebar including: Resources & Info, Dining Tips, and Friend Sites.
Am I guaranteed to have a safe meal at an AllergyEats highly-rated restaurant?
No. This is a guide, not a guarantee. AllergyEats ratings have been created by peers, NOT allergy experts. Always inform restaurant staff about your allergies and restrictions upfront. Ask questions and remain vigilant, as always. (For more dining tips, please click here).
What steps should I take after viewing your site to ensure a safe dining experience?
While there can never be a 100% guarantee of a safe dining experience, we believe the “Dining Tips” section on the left sidebar of our website provides valuable information to help ensure as safe an experience as possible.
Can I find AllergyEats on any of the social media sites?
AllergyEats currently has a page on Facebook and LinkedIn as well as a Twitter group. Please join us on those sites.
Can I access this site on my mobile phone?
Yes. AllergyEats has launched a mobile app for both iPhone and Droid smartphones which can be found in the iTunes store and Android market, respectively. While we do not have a dedicated app for Blackberry or Windows-based smartphones, the core AllergyEats site can be accessed by any phone with a built-in web browser.
How can I get an answer to a question not listed in the FAQ’s?
Please click the “Contact Us” link on the left sidebar and let us know your question. We will respond as quickly as possible. We will also be expanding our list of FAQ’s as we gain more feedback from the use of the site.
How can I communicate a suggestion I have for your site?
We strongly encourage people to suggest improvements for our site to increase its usefulness for the entire allergy community. Please click the “Site Feedback” link on the left sidebar and let us know your suggestions.