British people dine out 1.5 times per week spending up to £53 per meal or more than £4,000 annually. Unfortunately, eating out can also become a source of illness due to poor sanitation and hygiene. Consuming contaminated food and drinks can make you ill and at worse, lead to infections that may have fatal consequences. Here’s how to spot if your preferred dining joint is not up to par with hygiene standards.
The exterior of a restaurant says a lot about its policy towards cleanliness. If you see piles of rubbish that are not collected, this is a red flag indicating that management is not on top of the situation. Alas, improperly managed waste can lead to health issues as well as pest infestation. For example, rubbish is a source of nourishment for rats and other animals that can cause illnesses due to droppings and feces that they may leave behind. Therefore, a well-kept outdoor space is an indication that the owners of the dining place care enough to maintain the sanitation of their property. It also invites new visitors and helps retain current clients.
Hence, windows and the building façade are kept clean and properly maintained. Dirty windows and grubby doors give the impression that the staff are not instructed to clean their premises and present a neat appearance. Inside, one of the first things that a customer notices is the smell of the restaurant. Whilst it is normal to detect a whiff of food, burnt grub, stale grease, and offensive odours are a big no. Restaurants that have a strict hygiene code will work hard to eliminate lingering smells from the kitchen and other places which are possible sources of odours. The state of the bathroom is a main indicator as well if the restaurant is serious about cleanliness. Empty soap dispensers, dirty lavatories, unemptied bins, missing toilet paper, and wet floors all point that staff and management are not keeping up with the cleaning tasks.
Lack of Attention to Detail
Understandably, you expect everything to be neat and clean when you walk into a restaurant. The counters are wiped, tables are properly set, the cutlery is disinfected, and so on. However, there are also several details that can tell you that something is wrong. Say you were given worn out, dirty or torn menus. This suggests that the manager does not pay attention to the restaurant’s environment or fails to pay attention to details.
You might notice that your napkins are torn or that the ceiling has a big hole. Cables and wires that are sticking out of the wall are also signs that no one is taking the responsibility to ensure the safety of the building. Loose carpets, jagged boards, or a missing doorknob in the buffet furniture all point to lapses or oversight. Often, details matter the most as they give a clue that management is thoughtful enough to make sure that everything works well in the restaurant. Hence, if they are not paying attention to anything, however small, they might even miss the bigger things.
Dining out is an opportunity to relax, socialize, and enjoy a good meal. Your experience should be nothing short of being safe from stuff that could make you sick to hazards that compromise your health.