Accommodating Religious Dietary Restrictions in Your Restaurant

Living in the United States, we are part of a giant melting pot of different cultures, religions, and people. This is reflected in our schools, universities, shopping malls, and your restaurant! There are several different cultures and religions that require certain dietary restrictions. The more you and your restaurant staff are familiar with these guidelines, the easier it will be to accommodate your diverse guests, and the more welcome they will feel at your restaurant. Below are some of the most common guidelines that your guests may need to follow:

Hindu Dietary Restrictions

  • Vegetarianism (no meat)- Vegetarianism is encouraged, but not required. Hindus believe that one must have respect and compassion for all humans and animals. 
  • Non-Vegetarianism (limited meat) – Chicken and lamb are two acceptable meat options for non-vegetarian Hindus. However, consumption of beef is strictly prohibited as the cow is considered sacred to them.

Jewish Dietary Restrictions

  • No mixing meat and dairy – It is against Jewish dietary laws to mix meat and dairy. This includes during food preparation and consumption.
  • Meat restrictions – Shellfish, pig, rabbits, and camels are strictly prohibited in any Kosher dish.
  • Slaughtering process – Meat must be slaughtered in accordance to Jewish law which means the animal  must be killed by slicing its throat and all blood must be drained.
  • Food preparation restrictions – Any utensils, dishes, or restaurant cooking equipment that have come into contact with pork products (and have not been washed) must stay clear of a meal in order for it to remain kosher. Many Jewish guests may request that their dishes are dish-washed separately than ones that contained any pork to be safe.

Muslim Dietary Restrictions

  • No pork products –This includes bacon, lard, and gelatin. If a food preparation item such as a bowl, knife or spoon is in contact with meat product it is no longer considered Halal and cannot be used to prepare Halal food until it is thoroughly sanitized.
  • No alcohol – Preparing food with beer, wine, or other alcohol product is strictly prohibited. Many Muslim guests may request for a sauce containing wine to be cooked without the alcohol.

By familiarizing yourself with these dietary guidelines, you will be able to accommodate guests of all different cultures and faiths and can establish a special trust with them. Trust between you and a customer can only lead to several more visits to your restaurant!

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