Good gluten free intentions or just plain irritating?

As some of you may already know, back in the day I used to work at Starbucks to supplement my limited hours at my regular job. This was back when I was living and working in Toronto, Amanda working at Starbucks circa 2003-ish, ahh those were the days (sigh). Anyways, the point of my story is that one of the key principals of Starbucks as a company is that they wish to be viewed as “the second home”. They teach their employees this. They also place emphasis on their baristas knowing their regular customers drink orders so as to make those customers feel more “at home”.

While I admit I do enjoy it when my local Starbucks barista knows my drink order before I even get to the cash register, I do NOT like it when I’m at other restaurants. I realize that I am a creature of habit (aka not always feeling adventurous in my eating). When I find a place that can handle my dietary restrictions and well, tastes great and works within my budget, I tend to go back again and again. As such, I have found that more and more often when I go into certain places to eat, I am not only recognized, but also my order is remembered and if I choose to make a change, like “no pickles today, instead let’s have onions, please”, then I am corrected (as if I’ve made a mistake).

I do not like this!! I find it actually quite irritating and verging on rude. I know it comes from a good place and with good & helpful intentions, but if you’re going to remember my order at least make a point of finding out my name too. This way at least we can pretend it’s because you know me as opposed to “hey there’s that gluten free (aka complicated) girl…again”.

Have others out there experienced this? Am I just nuts? It really bothers me and instead of making me feel important or even recognized, it makes me feel boring, repetitive and difficult. I hope that is not the intention of these restaurants, but sheesh it really does rub me the wrong way. Almost enough to not want to return to the restaurant….but nah’ why mess with a place that “gets” your gluten free eating needs and can easily accommodate too?

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta


  1. "... it makes me feel boring, repetitive and difficult."

    Yes, I've run into a bit of this. And I do prefer not to be "high maintenance". I usually just joke with them that I have to change up my order from time to time to keep them on their toes.

    What bugs me more is restaurants that don't even try to accommodate gluten-free needs (nothwithstanding quite a few years now of celiac awareness in the hospitality industry). Case in point: the new coffee shop on Main St in Canmore doesn't offer a single GF item. They told me they "can't" because they would have to have a second kitchen. To me, can't = "certainly are not trying".

    Good thing there are several alternatives there that I can count on (shout-out here to Communitea), and of course they get my return business.


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