Saturday, October 17, 2009

There are so many different ways to rate a restaurant, you can rate the food or the service, you can even rate the atmosphere, but these are all subjective opinions. You have the option of either giving the business a high rating or a low rating, it all depends upon your mood or the mood of your server on any particular day. However, I’m going to suggest a new way to rate restaurants and this method is either a pass or fail, there is no in-between. This rating system has to do with rating restaurant restrooms. Please read on...

Before I sit down to eat, even at the finest restaurants, one the very first things that I do is make a little visit to their facilities, restroom, that is. Why? Well it's simple, the restroom in a restaurant can tell you a lot about the cleanliness of the kitchen more often than not. If the restroom is filthy and smelly there is a very strong chance the floor of the kitchen is sticky, the counters are dirty or even worse. Many years ago, I worked in the food service industry, everything from fast food restaurants to full service restaurants. I have friends who either own or work in various restaurants, who are deeply entrenched in the food service industry in every aspect from busboys and wait staff to executive chefs. So you can say I know my way around a kitchen.

How many times have you been in a restaurant restroom and read the signs asking that everyone wash their hands after using it? The signs are there as a reminder to the employees to always wash their hands before returning to work because unwashed hands harbor germs and bacteria that can be easily spread. My point is, if there is no soap or hot water in the bathroom, you have to wonder how the employees are washing their hands. The thought may have never crossed your mind, but I want you to think about that the next time you order a hand tossed anything. Yes, there is always a chance that there is a cleaning station in the kitchen for the chefs and cooks to clean up before handling food, but if you see a sign in the restaurant restroom advising the employees to wash their hands, rest assured that you are sharing the restroom with the restaurant staff.

So what do you do if you enter a restroom of a restaurant and it’s filthy? Restaurant experts say turn around and leave if the restaurant restroom is less than hygienic! Every business establishment(and home) has a down day where their bathroom might be a bit of a mess, but you can certainly tell the difference as to whether this is a permanent state of filth and dirt or just a bad bathroom day. Do not pass go, do not collect the two hundred dollars, (sorry I had a Monopoly moment). This simple, common sense precaution may save you from catching a food bourne illness, which we all know, is no fun at all. So, if you follow the new restaurant rating system I just suggested, you will notice your list of acceptable restaurants will begin to shrink and what you see will open your eyes, I promise !!
One more thing, is it me or have hairnets become a thing of the past? I have observed that in more and more restaurants, food handlers are not complying with food handling rules, by not wearing hairnets. I personally have found hair in my meals on several different occasions and most recently in my 5 year-olds food...not cool!

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