Dear Burger King,
As a food allergy family, we appreciate your dairy-free chicken fries. While we don't eat fast food very often, when we do we are happy to have a dairy-free chicken option available for our dairy-allergic daughter.
Our daughter also enjoys your kids' meals. She likes the apple fries (minus the caramel sauce, of course) and the apple juice boxes. She likes getting a toy, just like her brother and sister do. However, chicken fries are not available as a kids' meal option. I have gotten into the habit of explaining her allergy and asking that chicken fries be substituted for chicken nuggets in her kids' meal. Sometimes your employees do this cheerfully and without question. Sometimes I have an experience like yesterday's. This occurred at our local Burger King, where we have made this substitution several times.
Me: "I'd like three chicken nugget kids' meals, but I need to substitute chicken fries for the nuggets in one of them because of my daughter's food allergy."
Worker: "We don't do that."
Me: "Yes, you do."
Worker: "No, we don't."
Me: "Yes, you DO."
Worker: "Let me talk to the manager."
Worker: "She says we can't do that."
Me: "Cancel my order. I'm coming in to talk to her."
Me: "This is my daughter, Katherine. She has a severe dairy allergy and can't eat your nuggets, but she can eat your chicken fries. We need you to put those in her meal."
Manager: "Yeah, it's a cost thing. The breading on the nuggets costs less to make, that's why there's milk in it."
Me: "Uh-huh. She can't eat it. We've had the chicken fries substituted in her meal before. You can even put in four chicken fries instead of six so that it's the same number of pieces as in a regular chicken nugget meal."
Manager: "We don't have a button for that."
Me [summoning all the patience I can muster]: "Other workers just push the chicken nugget meal button and then tell the cooks to make the substitution."
Manager: "You mean verbally?"
Manager: "Oh, I guess we can do that. I just didn't know."
Me: "Thank you."
To keep your dairy-free customers happy, Burger King, I would like to offer a few suggestions.
1.) Offer a four-piece chicken fries kids' meal on the menu.
2.) Or, offer a four-piece chicken fries kids' meal for those with dairy allergies. Mention this meal prominently on your website and make all chains aware of it.
3.) Offer other kids' meal substitutions happily and willingly (ie., your veggie burger* for vegetarian children and your side salad as a healthy option for any child).
4.) Better yet, make them all standard options, regardless of cost.
These are foods you already supply to every Burger King. Your child customers have a right to "have it their way" just as much as your adult patrons do.
*The veggie burger does have dairy.