posted on Oct, 31 2016 @ 09:57 AM
What should you do the first time you try a new restaurant? Before you spend one penny you should do this; Go to the restroom.
The restroom is a good barometer for determining the likelihood of the food staff adhering to proper food handling. The thinking process is a clean
restroom will give you confidence in the rest of the place. At least, that there is a better chance the kitchen and the staff handling your food are
doing what they are supposed to in keeping the place and themselves sanitary.
The problem with this is that while it may instill confidence in your choice, it does not mean what you see in the restroom is entirely indicative or
Many managers adhere to higher standards where the restroom is concerned for this very reason, but they are not always so vigil when it comes to the
cook staff. Out of sight out of mind. They really do not want to see what goes on in their kitchen, unless there is a specific complaint and then it
really is an interaction between the kitchen manager and the front house manager. The general manager does not usually get involved unless the other
two cannot resolve it.
Having been in the restaurant business off and on now for over 40 years, I can assure you that cleanliness and sanitary habits of the staff are
woefully inadequate by my standards and always have been. Most simply do not care what they do, as long as they are able to avoid being hassled they
will simply do the very least possible when it comes to dealing with your food.
It does not really matter if it is a new place to eat or not. Every restaurant on this entire planet is a crap shoot for food safety and handling.
Dishes do not get cleaned properly, hands do not get sanitized properly, food does not get stored or handled properly, utensils get dropped on the
floor, ice machines have mold, soda machines have insects living in them. There are so many things that are done improperly there is a reason I work
in the business, I get to make sure I do my part to be the biggest pain in the butt I can be to employees and require they do these things right on my
watch. Does this mean they do it 100% of the time? No, but the likelihood is far less that when I am there that they won't.
I can not be everywhere at one time, so, I pick certain people I can trust to be my snitches, only they know who they are, they write me little notes
and slip them to me, telling me when an infraction occurs. Case in point, one day I walked into work to start my shift as the FHM and got a note
handed to me; Meat that spoiled overnight was being bleached by kitchen staff to use rather than thrown away.
The GM and the BHM were having a meeting and I instructed 2 of my cronies to start taking the meat in question directly to the trash compactor.
When they found out what I had done, they could not do anything about it, because they knew I was right, their food cost could go to hell. This is
always the motivation when it comes to bonuses, control food cost at the expense of proper food safety. My allegiance is to the customer, not food
cost. My family eats at restaurants. Would you want your family to eat meat that was bleached? How about dropped on a nasty floor in the kitchen?
How would you like to go to a buffet and be served 3 day old food that has been in and out of the danger zone 10 times?
The things I have witnessed being done in the name of food cost is bad enough, but the sanitary practices are disgusting, too. I have seen cooks
sneeze in food, wear their aprons to the restroom, go entire shifts without washing their hands, drop food and put it on a plate, use the same
utensils for raw meat on cooked meat.
The people expediting the food and the people delivering food to the table have one thing in common, they have all touched your plate and food with
their filthy disgusting hands. That bread you get served before dinner often gets put on that plate with the same hands. The salads you eat get
massed produced in large containers most of the time, often served after being mixed with dirty hands or utensils that are unsanitary. They touch
everything, their clothes, their faces, their hair, they have touched every surface in the place and have not washed their hands one time during an
Before I get hired, every owner or GM knows exactly how I feel about food safety and customer service and if they hire me what to expect. I can be
very persuasive and I always set the right examples, so, customers love me and kitchen managers hate me, owners respect me and GM's put up with me,
at the expense of their food cost.
Every employee I ever hire gets tested and beaten into their head what I expect of them and the one thing they always get, is wash their damn hands
every possible chance they get. Soap dispensers and wash sinks and towels are never out of sight and are always properly filled before I start a
shift. Make sure you remove your apron before using the restroom. Make sure to wash hands before and after using restroom. Report any unsanitary
habits being performed by any staff.
My advice to you, eat at home, at least then all you have to do is deal with your own dirty hands and that of your family! Oh, that 10 second rule
for dropping food is BS!