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Why you should have an Allergy Card at Restaurants

Why you should have an Allergy Card at Restaurants

An allergy card is an important tool for going to restaurants with food allergies

If you dine out with food allergies you should be using an allergy card! Here’s why…

There is nothing more challenging or stressful than telling a waiter about your food allergies, especially if you have more than one. I remember the days where I would rattle off my allergy list, no doubt forgetting something, and seeing the waiter become more and more stressed. There must be a better way!

Introducing an allergy card, also known as a chef card. Once I started using my allergy card at restaurants, it made the whole experience way more enjoyable for all parties involved.

My Allergy Card = Freedom!

The reason I love my allergy card is that I can control the dialogue about my allergies. Instead of the waiter talking to the chef, the card is doing that job and can explain the situation more clearly. In most cases, the waiter or the chef will come out to discuss the dish or the ingredients, which makes me feel so much more secure because I know they are taking my allergies seriously.

Unfortunately, some people use the term allergy in a restaurant when they just don’t like something, which makes it hard for allergic people to dine out. With the allergy card, you are showing the chef that this is a real allergy. I mean why would you carry something like that around!

A super tip, Sophie (our teen editor) suggests is to bring the card in Spanish as well if you are dining in the USA. As many line chefs are Spanish speaking it can further help clarify the situations. She has English on one side of her card and Spanish on the other.

An allergy card is an important tool for going to restaurants with food allergies

Getting an Allergy Card

There are a couple of ways to get an allergy card. You can order one or make it yourself. I started by making my cards as a word doc and laminating them myself. I have gotten fancier and design them as postcard-sized cards (I have them printed online 100 at a time- there are lots of websites that provide this service).

The reason I make my cards is that I find the allergy cards that you can have made are too small and hard to read. The card should be clear and easy for the chef to understand because they are busy in the kitchen. I also like to have a card that the waiter can write on, sometimes they will write the dish that I want on the card for the chef to see.

See Also

Tips for an effiective allergy card

  • Make it clear
  • Bold what you want the chef to pay attention to
  • Use a bit of red to show seriousness
  • Have the font size readable

In the end, this is communicating for you. You need to find the best language and style suited for you. I always have a card in my purse and in my allergy kit in case I unexpectedly go out to eat.

I also suggest always having one when you travel because not all places are used to food allergies.

Buying an allergy

We are big fans of the cards from our partner Equal Eats. You can get the cards in multiple languages perfect for travel as well as dining at your local eateries.

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View Comments (5)
  • I love your cards! I just finished laminating some for my son. We are going to Reykjavik among other places (which is how I found your blog). I was not satisfied with the cards I found and custom made one for him. I also wanted him to have one card with all the needed languages, instead of a different card for each country. Have you been to other countries in Europe? I will scan your site.

    • Hi Elizabeth!

      I totally agree with you in regards to the allergy cards. I have gone through many drafts and now have one I feel happy and safe with.

      I have been to a good number of countries. I live in Germany and have travelled to Italy, France, England, Ireland, and Belgium. Let me know if you have any questions about those countries 😀

      I hope you have fun in Reykjavik.


  • What a great idea! I have a long list of food allergies and sensitivities, and usually forget to mention one of them. Why didn’t I ever think of this?!

    • Oh my gosh Heather, that is totally how I felt before I had one. This has seriously changed how I feel when eating out and is such a good resource to have when visiting friends (if they want to cook for me or make sure their house is ‘Kortney safe’).

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