Last year our family visited Quiznos for lunch. We had decided to eat at Quiznos after reviewing the menu and hearing positive food safety reviews from fellow food allergy sufferers. Unfortunately, when we spoke with the staff at the restaurant we were told by a manager that he didn’t know what ingredients were in the food he served. He also stated that he would not guarantee the safety of the food he served. When we asked if we could speak with the owner he stated that there was no owner of the store that we could speak with as the store was corporately owned.
When we returned to our home I called customer service and was told to send an email. Below is most of what I sent - I edited it for length and took out the exact location of the store;
“I requested information about food allergies. The manager told me that he had peanuts in the soup. When I said "The website says you have no peanuts or tree nuts". He responded,"How do you expect me to know what is in the food? There are too many ingredients for me to remember, you are not safe to eat here." My husband questioned him further about speaking with the owner and the manager said that they were corporate owned and there was nothing he could do... Who owns the Quizno's in ... Florida? Why are your managers unaware of the food ingredients? Do they attend any food allergy training? Was this manager lying to me, my son and husband when he said there were nuts in the soup? What steps are you going to take to correct this situation? Is Quizno's a safe restaurant for peanut/tree nut allergic individuals to eat? If you answer that your food suppliers may or may not be nut free, then my question to you is, why have you not inquired to your suppliers about their food supply to you?
Please contact me as soon as possible as I would like to give you an opportunity to answer the above questions and post your answers on my site. If I do not hear from you then I will be documenting that as well.
I waited weeks to hear back. After making three phone calls to the customer service department I received a phone call from a Corporate District Manager.
The Corporate District Manager apologized for the actions of the manager and informed me that the manager I spoke with was also the independent owner of the store. She was knowledgeable about the needs of food allergic customers. She stated that she would be personally visiting this restaurant to guide them through food allergy safety. She also gave me a recommendation for another Quiznos nearby.
The Corporate District Manager also said that she would ask the owner to call me. I received a phone call this morning from our local Quiznos and spoke with an employee, not the owner.
The woman on the phone said that she was sorry for the incident, they are peanut free and then proceeded to accuse me of eating at the store a year ago with my son. I told her that was impossible because we just moved here in May. I always love a heartfelt apology that ends in an accusation. It warms the heart.
Since the owner refused to answer my email or call me I still have unanswered questions for him. Was he trying to decrease his liability by telling us he couldn’t guarantee the food safety for fear of litigation? Did he only want to keep us safe and therefore denied us this safe dining experience out of ignorance? Or are food allergies so unimportant to him that he couldn’t bother to take the time to answer our questions? I don’t know what he was thinking because he refuses to talk to me.
I do know that food allergic customers need truthful and accurate information about the ingredients of all foods they buy. It should be illegal to use blanket statements of possible cross contamination that will further prevent food allergic people from eating safe foods. It should also be illegal for a restaurant or manufacturing company to minimize true risk.
What do I want? I want the truth (how very “A Few Good Men” of me). I want to be able to trust the information on a menu or allergen statement. I want to be able to do my job as a responsible parent of a food allergic child - read labels, read menus, ask questions- and then I want food providers to do their job - know what they are serving (every last ingredient and where it was produced) and tell us the truth. That’s it, nothing more and nothing less.