Storm in a Tea Cup cafe
Storm in a Tea Cup cafe

On Monday evening, 2nd February at 7.34pm I posted a comment on our Facebook page from one of our Followers – here’s the text:-

Message from (name withheld but it’s on the FB page)

Hi people, went to a cafe called “Storm in a Tea Cup” at Stormont just for a coffee. They were doing traybakes and a coffee/tea for £2:50 so I ordered this for my friend and I. Got the bill – £7:20. I asked the manager why the extra £2:20? Because I got the gluten free traybake! I asked her to show me where it said it excluded the gluten free options. Surprisingly it didn’t. They also said they had gluten free lunch available. It was a bowl of potato soup that came without the wheaten bread. Rant over – well almost. I am sick of having to pay more for GF food or paying for a meal with half of it excluded!

It’s now 4.20pm on Wednesday, 4th February – that’s around 44 hours later and that simple “rant” as the writer called it, has reached 4,556 of our readers and generated 165 Comments, Likes and Shares!
Quite clearly it’s a topic very close to your hearts and most of the comments were very much in agreement with the writer’s experience and we, naturally are in complete agreement as well.

On the face of it, this particular incident looks like a simple case of overcharging but surely there’s more to it?

The café was offering a “Special” – traybakes and a coffee/tea for £2.50. We must assume the customer requested GF traybakes yet the staff member taking the order never thought to say that the GF traybakes were not included in the offer!

Nothing on the Menu to indicate the extra cost for a GF traybake so how is the customer to know?

To me, this indicates a lack of thought by the owners, a lack of thought or interest by staff and a lack of staff training even though “it’s only a Café”.

More seriously for the Owners, it would also make me wonder what else is going on behind the scenes in that café’s kitchen? Are the traybakes made on site in a kitchen handling both GF and non-GF flour or are they bought in? What precautions are taken to ensure no cross-contamination? Do the staff know about using different knives and utensils when handling GF food etc etc etc

Providing GF soup and omitting the wheaten bread is OK but only if there is an appropriate reduction in the price! After all, if the venue is prepared to charge extra because something’s GF then they should be fair and deduct the cost of the wheaten bread!

Eating “Gluten Free” when outside the home is a medical necessity for my wife and, I suspect, 99% of you folks reading this article and you know the consequences if a venue gets it wrong!

As GF eating has become more popular over the last couple of years we have people jumping on to the band wagon believing it’s a “miracle cure” type diet!

On the other hand we have eating places advertising themselves as providing Gluten Free food and not knowing the first thing about the illness or how to cater for Coeliacs!

Both of these groups are doing the genuine GF community no good at all – in fact they are causing a lot of damage within the hospitality industry.

I have picked up on the “Storm in a Tea Cup” incident because it was raised a couple of days ago but they are not alone in this. A couple of weeks ago we received an email from a Tea Room down below Dublin. The owner was keen to tell me they were now providing GF bread for their customers and asked “should she be concerned about cross contamination!”

In my mind, if a venue has to ask that question after serving GF bread to their customers, they really need to get their act together, and very quickly before they do someone a mischief!

On the positive side the article threw up the names of a number of eating venues we didn’t know about and we may be able to add them to our database!

What database? I hear you cry!!

Yes, Facebook is super and our FB page gets a lot of use, 4,725 Likes at the last count with more being added every day. However, our Venues which have said they can cater for the GF diet are available here:

Now, we haven’t eaten in them all or anything near it so we need feedback from you to keep the lists fresh and accurate. If you eat in one of the venues, we want you to tell the owners how you heard about them and we want you to tell us if you enjoyed the meal and if you would go back again (that helps everyone). Membership is free and members can leave reviews on any venue in the database.

Have you ever used our database? Have you even seen our database or do you just stick to FB and Twitter? If the answer is “No” then go there now and spend a bit of time exploring the site and doing searches in your area or in some place you plan to visit. You may be pleasantly surprised!

If you’ve had a similar experience, lets us know in the comments below.

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