Do you ever feel like a less-valued customer at a restaurant, just because you’re gluten-free?

If so, today’s post features a nice bit of math that proves revenge is a dish best served cold. Or that he who laughs last eats best. Or something.

seriously, how hard do you have to fight for safe food?

In the past I’ve complained about the celiac tax: feeling some major sticker shock from some gluten-free foods. Your comments showed that I wasn’t alone, although we also heard a sound defense from several gluten-free manufacturers.

Anyway. Today’s complaint is the opposite: sometimes it seems like a restaurant can’t be bothered to pay attention to my questions, leaving me unsure about the risk I may be exposing myself to.

You know the feeling? Where you just want to shake your server by the shoulders and shout, “Hey! It’s not fun for me either!”?

Instead of shaking them, here are some statistics to throw out there:

AllergyEats put together a nifty little piece of economics about the economic value of gluten-free customers. Here’s what they found:

  • About 5% of the US population – or about 15 million people – have food allergies or a gluten intolerance.
  • Assume that 20% are so severely allergic that they will not risk eating outside their homes. Assume another 20% are so minimally allergic that they won’t take any precautions. That leaves 60% – or 9 million people – who enjoy eating out in safe places.
  • Assume that each gluten-free diner eats with 2 other, non-allergic people. This is a conservative estimate given that a disproportionate amount of allergies are in children, who tend to eat with families (which tend to be more than 3 people).
  • This turns those 9 million gluten-free diners into 27 million gluten-aware diners, which is nearly 10% of the US population.

And, given the loyalty with which us gluten-free diners often reward our favorite restaurants, that 10% is nothing to sneeze at.

If you’re looking for a gluten-free restaurant in your area – or out on a road trip – you can check out our gluten-free restaurant guide. Not only does it have listings and information for celiac-friendly restaurants in all 50 states, but it has more than 100 gluten-free menus from many of the country’s most popular and plentiful restaurant chains.

Have you had to stick up for your rights as a gluten-free diner? Tell us about it!