When you go out to eat, you are looking for a pleasant experience. Whether you’re eating fast food or fine dining, you expect cleanliness in the kitchen, a nice atmosphere, a bright dining area, clean floors. You assume that restaurant employees are following hygiene rules, like wearing gloves to touch food and washing their hands in between their various tasks.

While scouring the internet this morning, I found an article on chefsblade.monster.com that addresses specific issues in the kitchen and the rest of the restaurant. Here is an excerpt:

      “Although state boards of health set strict rules for restaurants, some rules (like wearing gloves) are only followed on inspection day, because following them all the time would slow down production. The truth is that chefs handle food with their bare hands, bartenders touch garnish after wiping down the bar, and servers are touching menus and utensils used by other patrons without washing their hands in between tables. Also, if it’s flu season, customers can be sure that at least a few employees on duty will be sick.”

Let’s start by saying that this is not the case for all restaurants. Many of them are very strict about employees wearing gloves and won’t let them in the door if they’re sick. But this post brings up an interesting question: how can you, the customer, tell if you’re walking into a clean restaurant environment?

The article on chefsblade.monster.com offers three things you should look for (businesses take note):

1)      If the ketchup bottles have crusted nozzels, that’s a red flag. 
2)     A dirty bathroom is another sign the restaurant might not be as clean as you’d like.
3)     Dirty floors. If the main dining area is gross, what might that say about the kitchen?

Why these three things? It’s simple, according to chefsblade.monster.com: “Restaurants with high standards pay attention to small details.”

Restaurants (and other businesses for that matter) need to take the time and effort to sweep, mop, dust and clean every corner of the establishment. Regularly. No cutting corners. First impressions matter. If the business doesn’t look clean, customers won’t stay and they definitely won’t come back. It’s that simple.