Dietary requirements: Terre à Terre’s top tips

Loading the player...

In the third part of our Dietary Requirements special feature, BigHospitality takes a trip to Terre à Terre vegetarian restaurant in Brighton, to find out exactly what it’s like running a venue that is not just continuing to push the boundaries in meat-free cooking, but also aiming to cater for virtually all other dietary needs.

Late last year, Terre à Terre was forced to close temporarily after a fire swept through its ground-floor kitchen,caused by a pile of tumble-dried tea towels which had self-combusted.

The restaurant’s owners Amanda Powley and Philip Taylor spent £200k on new equipment for the vegetarian restaurant's kitchen, which re-opened in February.Staff were retained and the restaurant is now going from strength-to-strength.

In this podcast, BigHospitality paid a visit to the 100-cover restaurant; to meet marketing & communications manager Olivia Reid and find out exactly what it does to cater for customers with dietary requirements.

The Bible

Aside from its vegetarian and vegan offerings, Terre à Terre is a prime example of a business that has taken on the responsibility of catering for other requirements, allergies and intolerances - ranging from coeliac disease through to macrobiotics (Not heard of it? Take a read of the previous part of this feature).

The restaurant has created ‘The Bible’ – a breakdown of all the ingredients used in every one of its dishes, with tags indicating exactly what allergies those ingredients are or aren’t suitable, and whether or not a dish could be flexible for allergy suffers based on the removal of those ingredients.

“It’s become something which is integral to the restaurant,” Reid tells BigHospitality. “When we remove the dish, we have to replace it with something that offers the same choices – if we take a vegan dish off the menu, we will replace it with another vegan option.

“It’s our unique selling point, customers know we’ve made that effort.”

Staff training & costs

There are of course risks with being so accommodating for so many different requirements, so, as Olivia explains, staff training is crucial if you want to avoid any big mistakes.

“It’s very tight training for the back-of-house,” she says. “It has to be really because they have to learn about really keeping things separate.

“We have to keep a lot of fryers separate. If we’re going to fry anything with any dairy content in it, we keep it separate to a vegan fryer, and the same goes for gluten-free.”

So, what about the costs? Despite many hospitality businesses being concerned about the initial pay-out in areas like staff training, Olivia says the work of Terre a Terre has proven that the financial side of things aren’t as daunting as you might think.

She adds: “I think once you’ve got the system set up and it’s running, then it shouldn’t really have any increased costs. We’d never think of charging anybody any extra for a specific dietary request.”

Terre à Terre's top tips

The podcast concludes with Olivia giving us her top tips for other hospitality business looking to do more to cater for customers with dietary requirements.

“Do your research," she advises. "No restaurant should be encouraged to steer away from their type of food or their unique selling point, you need to make sure you’re doing it within your remit and not making an alteration.

“There’s nothing worse than saying to a customer ‘this is the option for you, but it’s nothing like anything else on the menu’.

“Remember that your customer is not looking for a compromise, they are looking for is an exciting dish that’s comparable to anything else. So talk to your audience.”

Read and view all of our content on dietary requirements here.

Related News

The FreeFrom Food Awards celebrate excellence in allergy and intolerance-friendly food and drink from manufacturers and foodservice businesses across the country

FreeFrom Food Awards raise awareness of dietary requirements

There are moves across the industry to make menus more appealing to the health-conscious diner, but could more be done?

Dietary requirements: Catering for the health-conscious diner

Rawligion vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, raw, plant-based café London

Raw and plant-based café Rawligion to open in London

Pay attention: Catering for dietary requirements can boost sales and increase customer loyalty, but you and your staff must be aware of the issues

Dietary requirements: Everything you need to know

Attention to detail: Customers with dietary requirements, allergies and food intollerances are impacting the day-to-day work of restaurants across the country

Dietary requirements: Catering for customers with allergies and intolerances

Catering for every food allergy and intolerance can be an effective way of boosting sales and increasing customer loyalty

Allergies, intolerances and dietary requirements - is your business getting it right?

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.