Customer Experience Allergen Audit 

In the past few years, allergen safety has been brought into sharper focus in the wake of the tragic deaths of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse and Owen Carey. Natasha’s Law has been introduced and Owen’s Law is being discussed, both of which seek to give more accountability to restaurants and food-to-go retailers in dealing with allergen safety. This increased responsibility and scrutiny made it clear to us at Serve Legal that retailers need help to navigate this constantly evolving landscape, and that is why we have developed the Customer Experience Allergen Audit. 
This audit has been designed in collaboration with an experienced Environmental Health Practitioner and is approved by Trading Standards. It has been developed to not only measure the compliance of staff with respect to allergen policies within a business, but also to provide a description of how well looked after an allergy sufferer feels within a particular setting. It can be very difficult for allergy sufferers to enjoy eating out due to the associated risk, and we want to help retailers ensure that they are providing a safe and welcoming environment for these at risk individuals. 
In a recent research project, Serve Legal conducted 100 audits across different high street chain restaurants, cafés and food-to-go providers, finding that in a staggering 19% of these audits, the auditor was not convinced that the staff member serving them was knowledgeable or confident that the product being purchased was safe to eat for a person with the allergy requirements they presented. This highlights the definite need for thorough training in this area, which we are keen to support retailers with. 
Specifically designed to flex and accommodate to the different environments of the food-to-go and hospitality/food service industry, Serve Legal's Customer Experience Allergen Audit involves auditors going to in-store cafes, restaurant chains, pubs and food-to-go establishments posing as allergy sufferers (with some being genuine sufferers). Auditors then ask pertinent questions about food preparation and menu ingredients and will then order a meal or food-to-go item. 
While doing this, they observe: 
• hygiene ratings 
• the display of allergen information 
• table/seating cleaning practices 
• any other useful or interesting information 
Reports are shared with clients within 48 hours of audit. Findings are used by operators to review customer service and to improve staff training, allergen labelling, communication and operational performance around allergens. 
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