Hotel Buffets and Food Allergies

I love being an elite at different hotel programs because it gets me perks such as a free hotel breakfast.

But because of food restrictions I have, I always hope the free breakfast is a la carte and not a buffet.  When it is a la carte, I can specify exactly what I can’t eat and usually get something custom made for me.

For example, Powdered Sugar at the French Quarter Hyatt made me this:

2015-11-22 07.30.12

When the option is a buffet, usually my options are this:


But I’m really lucky.  If something I can’t eat touches my food, there’s no problem.  I just can’t eat it.

Other people have severe allergies that can’t handle cross-contamination.

My friend has a shellfish allergy and we went down to eat at the buffet.  We asked the front desk whether there is shellfish at the buffet, and the man told us “not really”.

The “not-really” was a chilled shrimp station with the cold food items.  I just assumed that meant that my friend couldn’t eat anything from the station.

Then we watched as a man with shrimp on his plate continued around the buffet scooping food and touching the spoon to the shrimp on his plate.  Whelp.  The whole buffet became off-limits.

It made me think how difficult it must be to travel with food allergies that can’t be simply removed from the plate.

Do you have food allergies?  How do you deal with it on the road?

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

Check Also

a castle with fireworks in the sky

The Secrets to Cheaper Disney Dining

I always figured that Disney was one of those places you’d never get a discount …


  1. Its a nightmare. I have a tomato allergy and I have to read the ingredients on everything since tomato powder is so prevalent. On waitress told me catsup has no tomato. She was looking for chunks of tomato.

  2. I haven’t eaten off a buffet in about 30 years. I’m allergic to soy, seafood, and nutrasweet. Its so much easier to order off a menu. If I was paying for a buffet it would not be cost effect for me. My normal breakfast is a container of yogurt and a 1/4 cup of granola. I eat small meals every 3 hours. I normally stay at hotels that have kitchens in the room. So I can cook my own meals.

  3. Two gluten allergies in my family which means we almost always have to ask and the almost always make something special for me wife and son. One thing to note thigh is Italy is by far the most gluten free friendly country in the world

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.