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Conversations about food allergy risk with restaurant staff when eating out: a customer perspective

Conversations about food allergy risk with restaurant staff when eating out: a customer perspective
Conversations about food allergy risk with restaurant staff when eating out: a customer perspective
A significant proportion of food-induced allergic reactions occur whilst dining outside the home, often due to failures in communication. This study aimed to examine the nature of conversations about risk that customers with food allergies have with restaurant staff when eating out. A secondary analysis of qualitative data, generated through interviewing 39 consumers with severe food allergies across three primary studies, was conducted. Thematic analysis was used to process the data. Conversations with staff about risk were commonly initiated under circumstances of uncertainty, unfamiliarity and lack of knowledge and information. Re-establishing a ‘contract of care’ with familiar food venues and perceived shortcomings in early interactions with staff were further drivers of initiating risk conversations. Two major constraints to risk conversations were identified: being seen as ‘fussy’ or as a ‘nuisance’. To avoid them being perceived as ‘fussy’ by asking questions about food, consumers framed their conversations with staff in terms of risk, revealing their allergy and its possible impact on health to validate their enquiries. Paradoxically, declaring the allergy and seeking staff acknowledgment of the severity of the condition could make participants feel that they were perceived by staff as a nuisance. These dilemmas sometimes limited conversations and constrained customers' risk management. Experiencing trustworthy interactions with staff was not only contingent on evidence of their knowledge about the food contents and understanding of food allergies but was also based on manifestations of genuine customer care. When managing a food allergy outside the home, establishing risk and safety are products of, and are embedded within, relations and interactions with others. Risk conversations seek to establish trustworthy interactions as the basis on which safety can be maximised and risks – both health and social – minimised.
Conversations about risk, Eating out, Food allergy, Qualitative research, Secondary analysis
0956-7135
Barnett, Julie
e075f8d9-cf31-4bfc-a6be-41988b5ce764
Vasileiou, Konstantina
5825a183-f616-414a-89b7-568dc18da8d6
Lucas, Jane
5cb3546c-87b2-4e59-af48-402076e25313
Barnett, Julie
e075f8d9-cf31-4bfc-a6be-41988b5ce764
Vasileiou, Konstantina
5825a183-f616-414a-89b7-568dc18da8d6
Lucas, Jane
5cb3546c-87b2-4e59-af48-402076e25313

Barnett, Julie, Vasileiou, Konstantina and Lucas, Jane (2020) Conversations about food allergy risk with restaurant staff when eating out: a customer perspective. Food Control, 108, [106858]. (doi:10.1016/j.foodcont.2019.106858).

Record type: Article

Abstract

A significant proportion of food-induced allergic reactions occur whilst dining outside the home, often due to failures in communication. This study aimed to examine the nature of conversations about risk that customers with food allergies have with restaurant staff when eating out. A secondary analysis of qualitative data, generated through interviewing 39 consumers with severe food allergies across three primary studies, was conducted. Thematic analysis was used to process the data. Conversations with staff about risk were commonly initiated under circumstances of uncertainty, unfamiliarity and lack of knowledge and information. Re-establishing a ‘contract of care’ with familiar food venues and perceived shortcomings in early interactions with staff were further drivers of initiating risk conversations. Two major constraints to risk conversations were identified: being seen as ‘fussy’ or as a ‘nuisance’. To avoid them being perceived as ‘fussy’ by asking questions about food, consumers framed their conversations with staff in terms of risk, revealing their allergy and its possible impact on health to validate their enquiries. Paradoxically, declaring the allergy and seeking staff acknowledgment of the severity of the condition could make participants feel that they were perceived by staff as a nuisance. These dilemmas sometimes limited conversations and constrained customers' risk management. Experiencing trustworthy interactions with staff was not only contingent on evidence of their knowledge about the food contents and understanding of food allergies but was also based on manifestations of genuine customer care. When managing a food allergy outside the home, establishing risk and safety are products of, and are embedded within, relations and interactions with others. Risk conversations seek to establish trustworthy interactions as the basis on which safety can be maximised and risks – both health and social – minimised.

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Risk_Conversations_Final_accepted - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 30 August 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 31 August 2019
Published date: February 2020
Keywords: Conversations about risk, Eating out, Food allergy, Qualitative research, Secondary analysis

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 433892
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/433892
ISSN: 0956-7135
PURE UUID: 3325f1a6-dc19-4b64-8b27-650c1775f673

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 Sep 2019 16:30
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 05:49

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Contributors

Author: Julie Barnett
Author: Konstantina Vasileiou
Author: Jane Lucas

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