Whether in celebration of one of life's milestones, catching up with old friends, or simply in pursuit of something new, dining out can be one of life's great pleasures. Oberlin and Cleveland offer a number of superb restaurants for Kendal at Oberlin residents to explore, many of which offer a variety of vegan dishes.
The blog Retirement Living: Prepping for Your Vegan Meal Out discussed four steps vegan patrons can take to ensure their meal is truly animal-free before leaving home. Here, we expand upon that list, providing five steps to take upon arriving at a restaurant:
Speak with the Manager
In Retirement Living: Prepping for Your Vegan Meal Out, we advised you call ahead to speak with the chef or other knowledgeable restaurant representative to discuss your dietary needs. Upon arriving to the restaurant, ask to speak with the manager to inform him or her you have arrived and will be ordering your modified dish.
In an article on CNN.com, Sloane Miller also suggests using a chef card (a business-size card with explanations in pictures and words of your dietary needs) to give to the kitchen staff. Chefs I've spoken with love them, as they eliminate the game of telephone that can happen between the patrons and the kitchen, she says.
Reiterate Your Needs with Your Waiter
In advertising, there is the Rule of 3. The Rule of 3 states that, in order for consumers to actively think about purchasing your product or service, they must be exposed to your advertisement three times. By speaking with the chef before your arrival, the manager upon your arrival and finally your waiter upon being seating, vegan diners are implementing the Rule of 3, increasing the likelihood their message will be received.
Confirm Your Dish is Correct Before Consuming
Don't just dig in when your dish arrives, confirm with the waiter the dish you've been given is, in fact, your vegan meal. Then, examine the dish to see if there appears to be any irregularities. If your meal does not look like what you ordered, do not eat it, and ask to speak with management immediately.
Give Yourself Wiggle Room
When you prepare meals at home, it's easy to ensure all components are 100 percent animal free. But when you eat out, you're not privy to the Nutrition Fact labels of all ingredients. That's why it's important to give yourself a bit of wiggle room.
I have a 2 percent rule myself. And that is if there's 2 percent of some animal products in a food, I'm not going to make myself insane, says health and wellness expert Kathy Freston on NPR. I'm not going to grill the waiter and say, Are you sure there are no eggs in that pasta?
Thank the Restaurant Staff
Accommodating you may have taken much more effort than the average diner, so if all goes well with your meal, heartily thank the restaurant staff for all of their hard work. Thank your waiter, the restaurant manager, and the chef (if possible) in person, and share your pleasant experiences with others by writing a positive online review.
Download the free guide Oberlin Ohio: A Great Place to Call Home to discover great places to not only dine, but shop and sightsee in Oberlin.
photo credit: hoveringdog