As this website will have a strong focus on gluten-free dining for those with sensitivities or full-on celiac disease, businesses may be categorized with how gluten friendly they are. Here is a quick description of these levels.
GF 1: Highly Friendly
These are locations where they take the utmost care in keeping gluten-free diners safe from cross contamination. Foods are promised to be made on separate counters, with their own cooking utensils, and in their own fryers or ovens. Many of these places will have a designated gluten-free menu to make selecting a meal easier on the customer. At table service locations, the chef will come out to the table when notified of gluten-free guests and will discuss options available to them. This may include items already printed on the menu as gluten-free, or items that can be altered to become gluten-free. This not only helps the customer to understand what’s available, it also ensures that the chef personally knows that there are people needing a specially prepared meal, and will make sure it done correctly. This gives diners peace of mind that their food will be prepared safely without the risk of contamination.
GF 2: Moderately Friendly
These are locations that will usually have a wide range of gluten-free options for diners. They may have a designated gluten-free menu, or their website may have a section designated solely for identifying which selections are free from particular allergens, including gluten. There will be enough choices that a gluten-free diner will not be stuck with one or two items, but rather will have a variety of dishes in different categories to choose from. While these businesses may not specifically make promises that foods are uncontaminated through separation and use of specific utensils and cooking methods, it would be presumed that items listed as gluten-free on their menu or website will indeed be served that way.
GF 3: Slightly Friendly
These are locations that may have a few select items that are available gluten free. They usually have a decent selection, or at a minimum, items are changed often, so multiple visits will allow a gluten-free diner to have a different selection to choose from each time. At counter service locations, the gluten-free items will usually be stored in the same display case, and sometimes on the same display tray as items that contain gluten. For true celiac disease customers, these items will most likely not be safe for consumption. For someone with just a gluten sensitivity, these foods will likely be fine. When asking an employee about available gluten-free items, they will usually be able to show you what they have, and maybe give a brief description while easily showing you where each item can be found.
GF 4: Minimally Friendly
These are locations that my have one or two items that are available to gluten-free diners. These items will usually not be rotated, and therefore multiple visits will offer the gluten-free diner the same choice(s) every time. These places are good for a quick stop to sample an item, or maybe just to pick up a treat while the real reason for the visit would be for something different i.e., a coffee shop having a gluten-free cupcake in the display case. These places wouldn’t be good for a primary dining spot, but rather an afterthought if you already happen to be nearby. When asked about the gluten-free options, the employees may just be able to point to the already labeled item(s) and won’t be able to tell you much about it other than “it’s there and the sign says it’s gluten-free.”